Esurance Is Watching You . . Or Soon Will Be

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed off on a “plan” (you know there’s trouble brewing whenever a control freak politician announces he has a “plan”) touted as a way to “discourage” teen drivers from texting while driving but which will inevitably lead to adults being under the constant (and ever-more-profitable) thumb of the insurance lead

The “plan” involves fitting teens’ cars with a monitoring device helpfully provided by Esurance that plugs into any 1996 and newer car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port. The programmable device can partially disable teens’ sail fawns via Bluetoof – the wireless interface between sail fawns and personal electronics. It can also monitor – and record – how the car is driven. “Risky events” such as “speeding” are noted in real time, every time – with the record graphically displayed, if you like.

It shows the time, the place – everything.

Soon, “speeding” will be impossible. Or, more precisely, it’ll be impossible to get away with “speeding.”


And not just for teenagers, either.

I wrote an article a couple weeks back (see here) describing the quiet appearance of speed limit icons on the GPS displays of the new cars I test drive. These icons “remind” you of the speed limit on whatever road you happen to be traveling on. The icon – which looks like a speed limit sign – updates as the speed limit changes.

What do it mean?

It means the car knows what the speed limit is, wherever you go.

Many of them also know when you’re “speeding.”esurance OBD plug in

In the newest new cars, the speed limit icon glows red whenever you exceed the posted maximum.

Hold my hand, kids. Can you guess where this is headed?

The next step is the Esurance step. And the Progressive step.

These are two of the larger insurance mafia “families” – and they’re both strongly pushing in-car monitoring of your driving. Of everyone’s driving. Oh, it’s voluntary and optional . . . for the moment.

The wedge they’re using is – cue the dimwit drumroll – “our children.” The always urgent, irresistible “need to keep them safe”  . . .  using technology to gut their privacy and impose submission via inescapable, Terminator-style panopticons.

“Teens, get used to it,” croons the author of an article on the “plan” (see here). “This is America; someone is going to be spying on you for the rest of your life.”esurance 3

Well, maybe it’s his America. It’s certainly not the America I grew up in. The one in which you had a bit more privacy than Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984. Smith was reduced to furtively huddling in the one small corner of his dingy apartment where – so he thought – the Tele-Sscreen could not see him. Where, at least and at last, he could be alone – if only for a moment.

Turned out he was wrong about that.

Similarly, Big Sis will soon be riding shotgun. And if you don’t see this morphing from optional to mandatory – for adults as well as teens – I’ve got some Confederate currency you might be interested in. The insurance mafia’s wettest dream is about to come true, courtesy of a synergy of public apathy and advancing technology.watched pic

People – the people I refer to as Clovers –  yelp like trained seals whenever their handlers cry “safety”! And what could be more “safe” than making sure it’s impossible to “get away” with “speeding”? That they themselves also “speed” and so will also be ensnared by this electronic tar baby (viz, photo radar and red light cameras) does not occur to them. It’s only those other people whose “speed” is “dangerous”

Sic ’em!

Only we’ll all be Hoovered up by Clover’s coercive collectivism.

Clovers included.

Is there an out?

Probably not. Obama mafia

It’s doubtful they’ll mandate the in-car data recorders . . . at first. Instead, they’ll simply levy exorbitant insurance premiums on those who decline to install them or who “cling” to their pre-OBD (’95 and older) vehicles, which lack the technological interface for real-time monitoring and recording.

But even the latter will only constitute a temporary reprieve – for those who can afford it.

Eventually, the pincers will close. It doesn’t take the prescience of The Amazing Kreskin to see them already forming up, preparing for the final assault on autonomous transportation. Cars driven by you, without supervision or intervention by various nannies-at-large.

Cars controlled by computers will begin to hit the road within the next few years. At first, they’ll be a novelty. As hybrids were, back in the mid ’90s. Then – before we know it – they’ll be common. Then there will be new “plans” put forward by politicians. These “plans” will demand the forced retirement of “unsafe” older vehicles that can’t be controlled – or monitored. Bet your bippie.

Enjoy what’s left of your free time – and freedom – behind the wheel while you still can.

I give it five years.

Maybe three.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  1. What is preventing someone from creating software that will erase all trip data as soon as the engine is turned off, or replace the segments of memory for speed data with all zeros in a realtime basis?

    I would certainly purchase this, it would be more valuable to me than a powerchip.

  2. Well Eric, after seeing this I think I’m going to hold on to my 94 F150 for the rest of my life. I’m 16 and having to pay way to much for insurance and if I had my choice I’d rather not have that bill at all. Oh well its mandated by the government so I actually dont own my car at all.
    Love your stite.

  3. LMAO. First they all but mandate vehicle tracking. Then they say no to cell phones. But if the cell phone is wireless to your ear it is OK. Then they say only one ear because it could be distracting in two ears. Now they are struggling with your looking at the cellphone, because they don’t want you to, but they can’t figure out how to word it. So they are asking for a time-out while they have meetings, discussion groups, strategy sessions, charts and graphs prepared, doughnuts delivered, fresh coffee made and a lawyer or two to review what ever #2 emminations are the result of the time-out-while-we-think-how-meetings.
    As Ayn Rand said: You are free to ignore reality, you just can’t ignore the results.

    Getting directions on the road from Google Maps and other smartphone apps is a popular alternative to the expensive navigation aids included in some cars. The apps are also a gray area when it comes to laws banning the use of cellphones or texting while driving.

    The Transportation Department wants to enter the argument.

    The department is intensifying its battle against distracted driving by seeking explicit authority from Congress to regulate navigation aids of all types, including apps on smartphones.

    The measure, included in the Obama administration’s proposed transportation bill, would specify that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to set restrictions on the apps and later order changes if they are deemed dangerous, much the way it currently regulates mechanical features of cars.

    The measure has the support of automakers, which already mostly comply with voluntary guidelines for built-in navigation systems, but it has run into stiff opposition from technology companies, which say that any such law would be impractical and impossible to enforce. It’s another example, they say, of federal regulators trying vainly to keep up with a rapidly changing industry.
    Systems built into car dashboards would be among the aids included under a measure in a proposed transportation bill. Credit Nick King for The New York Times

    • Well, maybe this is some local b.s., but I tried ordering a pizza and I got a message on my phone which said, “Emergency Calls Only !”

      [Of course this was an emergency call.]

      Is S – Hitting – The Fan?

      I’ve never gotten a message like that before on my cell phone.
      I’m not a ‘cell phone person’ so I dunno if that’s common.

      Prolly just a tornado in the next county over, … right?

      Test… Test… this is (may only be) a Test….

      • Hmph, using another brand of cell phone and the call went right through.

        What an interesting test that was.

        …I hope it was just a test.

      • @helot – Ever seen a dog chase it’s tail? After a while it gets tired and lays down or wanders off looking for something else to do. We are almost there. It is just sad that the frustrated, angry dog is going to bite on the way out.

        • Garysco asked, “Ever seen a dog chase it’s tail?”


          And sometimes the stupid dog catches it! … And he chews on it for awhile! …Like he was trying to kill a flea or he was flat-out angry at his tail!
          It’s freakin’ bizarre. An odd sight to see.

          Maybe that’s why certain dog owners bob the tail,… and gooberments do the same to their troops?

          ‘Bob-the-tail’ suddenly has a whole new meaning for me.

          Anyway, pizza is on the way.
          All hail the Free Market.
          Now if they could Only just make a Primal pizza that taste like the artery clogging real thing?
          Thank goodness this seems like a false alarm.
          …Imagine if it was the real thing?

          “Emergency Calls Only !”


          • RE: Primal Pizza?
            Make the crust from ground meat and nut flour. Say, ground turkey breast and coconut flower, fried up/baked on a pizza stone covered in butter or coconut oil.
            Get it about half-baked/fried, pull it out, add toppings as desired.

            Objective: Thin (1/4 “) “crust” with meats and sauce and cheeses on top, well-done, crispy, almost. Dense, heavy, nutritious.

            Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to try this – it’s a suggestion for consideration.
            Every time I suggest we do it here, the women complain it’s too much work…. Even if _I_ make it. 😛 (Somewhere, my life went into the twilight zone. huh, it’s 2 AM…. 😉 )

      • When a phone’s ESN or a SIM card cannot be tied to a valid account it is only allowed to make emergency calls. Way back when the attempted call would be forwarded to an automated system that would allow paying for the call by credit card.

        Likely it was only some sort of glitch where your phone was picked up by a competitor carrier’s tower or some other issue so you weren’t seen as a subscriber.

  4. The good thing is that we invented faraday cages over a hundred years ago, without a signal the thing is useless as it won’t know the speedlimit or gps location. So just put it in one.

    • Mystery Science Theater 3000 ruined those movies for me. All I could think of watching that trailer was that he was a door to door alarm salesman, giving her a demo of what could happen if she didn’t buy.

      • That would have been a better movie.

        Beware My Lovely – Widowed Housewife Film Noir

        I generally don’t like Film Noir because it’s about people who make a living finding the guilty. That is a contrived statist occupation in my book.
        And also because it uses lighting to depict unpopular content that would otherwise be in the movie if not for the Hayes code.

        This was cool because it just dealt with a regular woman and a probably typical insane person who had not yet been properly pacified and caged by the all wise and ever capable social safety system.
        – – –

        Someone needs to crowdfund a MST3K functionality for all of todays TV programming.

        Imagine being able to press the button while Hannity or whatever is on TV and then Crow, Mike, Tom, Joel, or Gypsy could pop up and be animated on the screen riffing on the show in question. It could be an alternate closed captioning/SAP choice or something.

        MST3K auto repair

  5. The real problem with these devices is not that your bad behavior will be logged, tracked and reported. The problem is that your behavior is assumed to be in violation to begin with. Sure, we’re all told “if you ain’t done nothin’ wrong you ain’t got nothin’ to worry about,” but of course that’s not the point.

    Like aggressive anti-theft packaging and devices, we’re all paying the cost for the minority of people who choose to not participate in society. Instead of attempting to correct their bad behavior, we’re forced to change ours. Anyone old enough to remember watching a loved one walk off the jetway? Just going to the airport to have dinner and watch the planes land?

    It’s bad enough I have to keep my head on a swivel and always keep an eye on the speedometer (hey remember kids! It’s construction season! Miles of construction zones (with no construction) for 2X fines!) on the Interstate. Now I can look forward to my own possessions tattling on me if I coast down a grade faster than Uncle would like. Some would make the argument that by focusing on my speedometer I’m a better driver, but I doubt it.

    • Hi Eric,

      Don’t worry about that speeding thingy. Just like brakes that apply themselves when you don’t (laser cruise and all), the accelerator won’t work when you want it to, thus limiting your speed. After all, as you mentioned, your GPS already knows what the local speed limit is, so will the vehicle and ECM. Just go to sleep. The car will wake you up when you get to work.

      We used to kid about things like this in the 70’s-80’s traveling up/down highway 5 in California’s central valley to So. Cal tracks for racing. “Wouldn’t be great if the van would just get us there while we sleep in the back?” This conversation always happened about 4 hours into a 7 hour trip.

      And motor-homes WILL have a cruise control allowing you to get up and make that sandwich. There goes a great joke out the window.

      Be careful what you wish for…

  6. Need to go one step further, Eric. Once cars are truly autonomous, the cars will not allow us to travel outside “approved” areas. So stay in the urban zone and leave Mother Nature alone, as we can’t be trusted to integrate with the natural world. That’s the way I would do it to promote Agenda 21.

  7. I work in transportation (not for very much longer though!). When the company I work for went with “electronic logs” a couple of years ago I said it will not be long before these “tattle tells” will be made mandatory in private cars too.

    I talk with the truck drivers and they all hate this system fraudulently called “PeopleNet”. (It is actually an anti-people net. People no longer control the machines, the machines control the people.)

    They all have horror stories about this Clover device. Eric is right. Soon the rest of us mundanes will also have horror stories to experience as well.

    There are no sacrifices too great for the God of Safety.

  8. Yeah I work for one of *those* companies….

    Soon there will be an APP to load on your phone to transmit data back to the mother ship to modify your rate.

    And you are so right about the principle of adverse selection. Those that DON’T sign up must be the bad ones…. You don’t think the net income will go down do you? So if you take in less on the good ones the bad ones must be charged more.

  9. I have good news and bad news…

    The good news is that such things are highly unlikely to become reality.

    The bad news is, that is so because the economy and general society will collapse before such things can be implemented. The economy WILL fail, whether merely hyperinflation and great depression outcomes, or the total breakdown of riots and mayhem starting in the big cities with a side dish of civil war everywhere else.

    Whom do you expect to “enforce” such things when everyone is fighting for their very lives? “Insurance” of any kind is very close to the edge of implosion, in great part driven by the insanity of Obummercare.

    When you start saying to yourself that, “this can’t go on…” – you are pretty safe to accept that it really can’t. When the “dollar” reaches actual negative “value,” it can’t go on.

    I think it’s going to blow mighty hard, mighty soon.

    • CloverMamaLiberty if things are getting so poor in our country then tell me why I am spending less as a percentage of income on food, housing, vehicles, clothes than ever in my lifetime? I am not starving. None of my extended family are starving. We all were able to find jobs. We all pay our bills. Insurance is not hurting us. Taxes are not hurting us. The government is not hurting us. We have a better standard of living than any time in the past decades. Tell me MamaLiberty, what is your problem with living in today’s society?

      • The problem, Clover, is violence. Your aggressive violence. The inability of people such as yourself to simply leave other people alone.

        Some of us actually resent being assaulted. We’d rather live our lives as we see fit – not as you deem appropriate.

        We’re not hurting you – except perhaps your feelings. We simply have different values. But you believe your values entitle you to “organize” (that is, forcibly coerce) people; to “help” them (whether they want your “help” or not – and with other people’s money); to dictate to them what is “too risky” and how they’ll raise “our” children. To compel them to “fund” projects you consider worthy.

        Here’s an easy way to demonstrate the evil you embody, Clover:

        Would you personally force your neighbor to hand over money to “help” whatever program or cause you consider “important”? Would you try to tell him – at gunpoint – whether he can or cannot do business with someone else, put an addition on his house, consume a substance he enjoys consuming, or purchase insurance? Are you willing to assault and even kill him if he refuses and asks you to get off his property?


        How come, Clover?

      • I don’t know you, of course, but all other things being equal I’d have to say that you are either a liar or one of the parasites who steal everything you have from others… or both. No other explanation is possible.

        As a thief, inevitably with government help and approval, of course you are living high off the hog.

        Just don’t get too comfortable, mister. Your victims may not always be so easy to fool and dominate.

        • MamaLiberty – Here’s what we do know about Clover: He’s deceptive (he makes up statistics and “bets” this or that, never offering to pay up when proven wrong). Clover is evasive (won’t respond in kind to specific points of contention, preferring to use straw man arguments and non sequiturs). He’s secretive (he won’t even provide general information on what he does for a living). He’s proven himself (herself or itself?) a liar in writing on numerous occasions. Most liars I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with also had no problem with stealing. Clover doesn’t see taxation, eminent domain or confiscation as stealing and even tries to justify them; so it stands reason he profits from one or more of these activities. Now compare Clover’s behavior to Nietzche’s observation that “Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.” and there’s a very high probability that Clover is an essentially impotent lower echelon tax-feeder.

      • Clover,
        I originally wrote this out with my own observations, but I have to include more information than I’d rather have you know. So I’ll be more general.

        The truth of the matter is that if you look under the surface a little outside the government employee enclave or where ever it is you live, people are struggling. People going to estate and garage sales and paying with change to buy something. Foreclosures are everywhere*, you just need to look for them. People are underwater on their homes too. They can’t move because they are trapped thanks to the housing bubble.

        What’s worse, is that regular people who still have something are being set up to be fleeced again. The middle class is searching for return on their savings and to get it requires risk and things will then turn sour. Muppets as Goldman Sachs calls them. ( )

        The underlying math isn’t good. Anyone with half a brain can see it. Now will the powers that be find a way to defibrillate and keep things going even longer? Maybe. But I’ll they’ll do is hurt the middle class even more.

        Clover, I don’t wish ill will on anyone, but if you go ahead and BTFATH ( ) well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

        Taxes not hurting? Taxes are my number one expense by far and the government wants more. Oh but we make it up with low interest rates… let me keep my money and I won’t need to borrow. But that’s the way it’s done. Tax us so we can have low interest rates but are then forced to borrow and become debt slaves. Are you too stupid to see this part of the scam or are you part of it?

        *Yes, everywhere, even the million dollar homes. In the richer neighborhoods and the poorer neighborhoods.

    • MAMA, the lose-lose situation you have described is a real possibility. Scary to think that a serious economic collapse would probably be the best thing for humanity.

    • @Mama – You are not the only one who thinks something is in the wind:

      Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown (lest we think the USA was left out, it wasn’t)

      Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

      A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

      Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

      Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”….

      James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price’s concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the “study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements,” he said, including how “to counteract grassroots movements.”

      Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

      • Yup!

        As James Rickards notes:

        Right now, we are on the precipice. When you are on the precipice, it doesn’t mean you fall off immediately, but you are going to fall off because… The mistakes have already been made. The instability is already in the system.

        We’re just waiting for… the snowflake that starts the avalanche.

        … what could it be? … my answer is it doesn’t matter because it will be something. It could be a failure to deliver physical gold. It could be an MF Global financial failure. It could be a natural disaster. It could be a lot of things. … the catalyst doesn’t matter. It’s coming because the instability is already there.

        The PTB know it too. Why else would they be building the FEMA camps?

  10. Collective punishment – is a war crime and a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. But to a government school administrator and progressive colvers a collective control necessity.

    Orwell predicted that Brother’s technology will eventually watch and communicate directly to you, aka: Tele-Screen.

    1948 all seeing and communicating government device = Tele-Sscreen.
    2014 all seeing and communicating government device = Smartphone, connected grid public cameras and license plate readers.


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