Your Car’s Location Data is a Goldmine for Government Snoops
Our cars are loaded with computer code and microchips, all intended to deliver better performance, help with maintenance, and provide the amenities drivers demand.
It also appears these systems are generating a huge amount of data – including your car’s real-time location — that’s sent back to carmakers and third parties. And according to Motherboard, some companies are interested in taking that location information and selling it to the U.S. military:
A surveillance contractor that has previously sold services to the U.S. military is advertising a product that it says can locate the real-time locations of specific cars in nearly any country on Earth. It says it does this by using data collected and sent by the cars and their components themselves, according to a document obtained by Motherboard.
“Ulysses can provide our clients with the ability to remotely geolocate vehicles in nearly every country except for North Korea and Cuba on a near real time basis,” the document, written by contractor The Ulysses Group, reads. “Currently, we can access over 15 billion vehicle locations around the world every month,” the document adds.
The company proposes to use data your car already transmits to manufacturers:
Consumers may be unaware that automakers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) often include sensors in vehicle parts that collect information such as their airbag and seatbelt status, engine temperature, and current location, and then transmit that information either back to the automaker or to third parties. Aggregator companies also purchase or obtain this data, repackage it, and then sell that data or products based on it to their own clients.
“Vehicle telematics is data transmitted from the vehicle to the automaker or OEM through embedded communications systems in the car,” the Ulysses document continues. “Among the thousands of other data points, vehicle location data is transmitted on a constant and near real time basis while the vehicle is operating.”
The document specifically suggests that this technology could be used for military operations: “We believe that this one attribute will dramatically enhance military intelligence and operational capabilities, as well as reduce the costs and risk footprint of ISR [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] assets currently used to search for and acquire mobile targets of interest,” the document adds.
You should read the entire article – found here. It’s a chilling look at what our cars know about us and share with others without our knowledge or explicit consent.
Image Credit: Smnt / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)