Here is what the connected world looks like and why car makers want 5G.
It starts with hundreds of sensors, at least.
But the data it collects? That data does not belong to you and the owner’s manual doesn’t say anything about it (which is legal in every state besides California).
So what would you do if you were a reporter working for Wired?
Hire a hacker and hack your car.
In this case, a 2017 Chevy Volt.
Almost all new cars come with a built in Internet connection, whether you want it or not. 100% of Fords, GMs and BMWs. All but one Toyota and Volkswagen. Sometimes it is free (because they want the data). Other times it comes with a fee.
The Wired reporter and an engineer who tears apart cars (after crashes) for a living met in an empty warehouse with a Chevy Volt belonging to a friend of the reporter.
These cars can generate upwards of 25 gigabytes of data PER HOUR that the car is running. Of course, most of this data stays in the car, but *IF* the manufacturers had 5G cell connections, I bet more of it would get transmitted back to them.
In their case, they hacked into (literally) the radio – which is now called an infotainment system – to see some of the data that it collects. They were able to see only a tiny fraction of the data that is being collected. Here is what it looked like when they were working on it.
They found location data – including the warehouse where they were taking the car apart and the hardware store where he went to buy some tape.
It included the unique ID numbers of the two phones that Wired was using.
It included a long list of contact’s addresses, emails and photos.
They also bought a used infotainment system on eBay and found reams of data on it.
Fords record location data even if you don’t use the navigation system.
Some Beamers have a 300 gigabyte hard drive in them to store the data.
Telsas can even collect video and store it.
If you have a self driving car, there are cameras that watch you. That data will likely be stored.
When the car’s owner asked GM what they collected and who they shared it with, they declined to answer.
When Wired asked, they got a very vague answer.
A lot of this is dependent on what features you ask for. If you want the ability, for example, for Amazon to unlock your car and deliver packages, you have to have remote unlock. If you want remote key access, well, there is another access point.
Most people don’t even know what services come with the car.
And maybe you don’t care if the car maker and the government and hackers are tracking you. If so, no problem.
If you get fewer of bells and whistles, the less private data (as opposed to engine data) they will be able to collect.
And, we think, if you replace the radio with an after market radio (infotainment system), you will likely disable a lot more.
BUT, you will also disable some features.
Likely, for example, OnStar is connected to the Infotainment system, so if you replace it, that might disable OnStar.
Or, you could be an older, used, vehicle.
Certainly an interesting world.