In today’s world, privacy is becoming more of an issue than ever. With the accusations flying around about the NSA (National Security Agency) violating privacy mores all over the world and with the advances in technology making it easier than ever to keep track of the individual person, it isn’t surprising to know that many of the current technological advances in our cars allow us to be tracked without our permission or knowledge. So, what can we do about it?
How It’s Done
With so many technological advances in new cars, especially those with “conveniences'” such as OnStar and “crash alert systems” available from other auto manufacturers, cell phone technology is literally embedded in our cars and trucks. Not only that but the Bluetooth phone connectivity instantly associates our cell phones with our cars which doubles the ways we can be tracked via cell phone activity.
Also, for cars with built-in navigation systems, an onboard GPS (Global Positioning System) locator is embedded into our car as well. While this certainly makes our lives easier, it also makes us easier to locate and track.
With the inclusion of the “black box” concept into most new cars, not only is our location available but how fast we’re going, the number of occupants in the car and even how much gas we have in the tank can be accessed as well. This means the government and anyone else with the technology and know-how can literally watch virtually every move we make and, with only a little more information, who we’re making them with.
What Can Be Done
There may be a “feature” to turn off your GPS locator in the navigation system, but it will be buried under multiple menus. Delving deeply into your owners manual and taking advantage of online resources may help. As for services such as OnStar, even if you haven’t paid the subscription for it, it can still be activated remotely and, without literally physically disabling these systems, there’s not much of a way to stop them from being activated.
Other solutions include buying a vehicle without those “conveniences”. If you still need navigation, external GPS systems such as those from Garmin and other companies will work and, as long as you don’t register the product, won’t be directly associated to you. As for OnStar and other “crash response” conveniences, you’ll simply have to do without.
Should We Actually Care?
While few people have anything to hide, the use of these abilities is still a tremendous invasion of our privacy. And, unless we take steps to prevent it from being used, we’re basically powerless to stop it. Granted, these technological advances were primarily designed to help those in an accident, to assist in catching criminals and to make our lives easier and more convenient.
Unfortunately, therein lies the dilemma. This technology isn’t going to go away and will only become more ubiquitous and insidious. There are things you can do to cope, things you can do to avoid and things you have to accept, regardless of how onerous it is. The ultimate solution on how to handle it is, for what it’s worth, in your hands.