The Spy in the Connected Car

Posted by Voipfone on March 1, 2018

connected_carI bought a new car this month; I had to, the sat-nav broke in the old one. But I’m not a car man, I use cars for convenience so I tend to buy very ordinary cars very infrequently and use them until they fall to bits.

But I am interested in how cars are changing with communication’s technology and I tend to buy cars with a lot gadgetry in them – even if I never find out how to use the half of them. For a start, I’ll only have an automatic these days, why this country prefers manual gear changing is a total mystery to me. And, as noted, a sat-nav is mandatory for me – as is hands free telephony of course – but now adaptive cruise control is also obligatory

If you’ve never used it, it’s almost magic. Your car’s radar locks onto the car in front and speeds up and slows down depending on what it’s doing. It’ll brake to a standstill or speed up to the limit you’ve pre-set. Essentially the car in front is doing the driving for you. So far I’ve driven for hundreds of miles without using my feet at all. It’s great in stop-start motorway traffic.

This technology is in an otherwise ordinary family car – a VW – so it’s hardly bleeding edge but it shows how far along the road (sic) the driverless car has gone.

My car is now also a Wi-Fi point – which is a bit weird – but along with this I was given a Data Plug. It’s also being given out for free by VW garages after service and I’m wondering why? Why free, that is?

This plug is a dongle that plugs into your car’s computer and records a huge amount of data about how your car is performing and – shudder – where it’s been. It connects with your smart phone which connects to the web. What could possibly go wrong? Well the car mechanic at the garage now knows my every movement and my car can now be hacked.

Voipfone is knee deep in GDPR guano at the moment – this subject is possibly a post for another time when I’m not bleeding so badly on it, but because of this I’m wondering about the security of all this data in the Data Plug; this ‘free’ plug is in exchange for something – I wonder what they’re doing with all that data? Did they get your permission and did you know?

Needless to say, I’m not plugging in the plug just yet.

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