Who Profits From The Loss of Our Privacy?

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Who owns the data culled by your car? And – more to the point – who is profiting from it?

And why aren’t they cutting us a check, at least?

All new cars – and most cars built over the past decade or so – have data recorders and this data is not only stored but can be – in newer cars – transmitted back to the manufacturer (e.g., General Motors) without the knowledge of the car’s owner.

That is, you.

Nominally, consent is required before the manufacturer may filch your data  – and “filch” isn’t even the right word, because what we are talking about is continuous, real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s speed, how quickly it accelerates (and decelerates), where the car is at any given time (and how long it stays there), even what the driver is listening to on the radio – keep in mind that everything in a new/late-model car is “connected” – but many people don’t realize that the “consent” form that gives access to all this data is buried in the paperwork they sign when they buy or lease the car.

Most people do not read the entirety of these document, which are written in Talmudic small-print legalese and for exactly that purpose (i.e., to glaze over the eyes of the already weary customer so that he will simply sign – anything, at this point – in order to be done with it and out of there, at last).

Having John Hancocked the paperwork, “their” car becomes a kind of four-wheeled Chatty Cathy, constantly “sharing” the data it collects. In the newest cars, this could and likely does include whatever is said in the car (there are microphones in almost all new cars, part of the hands-free cell phone/voice recognition system) as well as whatever is texted (most new cars pipe your phone’s data through the car’s system, which means the car has access to the data and thus, so does GM or Honda or whomever).

Lovely, isn’t it?

So, what do they do with this data?

Ask Lisa Joy Rosner. She is the chief marketing officer for a data mining company called Otonomo – which “partners” with the car manufacturers to make money off all that data, by selling it to interested parties.

And who might be interested?

Pretty much any company that hopes to sell you something. The data helps them construct a profile of you, determine or at least project your inclinations  – and then targets you for The Sell.

The movie, Minority Report , gave us a preview of this promiscuous intrusiveness back in 2002. As Tom Cruise, the lead character, walks down the street, he’s accosted by targeted ads that Sell to him, specifically. Based on data about him culled by The System.

This is not the future anymore. It is our present.

Lisa Joy explains:

“The thing the car manufacturers realize now is that they’re not only hardware companies anymore, they’re software companies . . . “ What she means is that your car is like your computer – which keeps cookies of your browsing habits, which are then used to direct certain ads your way. Except it’s more than that – per the above. Your laptop/desktop does not monitor your movements or transmit the conversations you have inside your home – not yet.

Your car does. Or can.

Meanwhile, are you being cut in?

Leaving aside the nettlesome – the disturbing – privacy issues, there is the issue of these data mining operations not paying you – the owner of the mine – a cent for the data they mine and profit from.

Authors get royalties. Not much, but something. Landlords get rent. Lenders get interest. We produce and provide the data – but Otonomo, et al, get all the coin generated.

Such a deal!

Otonomo “cleans up” the data ever-so-helpfully provided by their “partners” – the car companies but produced by us – and then “helps (the car companies) commercialize it,” Rosner says. “The automaker gets a revenue share on every piece of data that is consumed.” 

Yes, but what about the “consumer”? The ugly word used to describe the people being milked like factory farm dairy cows by Otonomo and similar data-mining operations. And also by the car companies, which are as complicit in this as the Catholic Church is with regard to kid-touching priests. 

At least it’s possible to avoid the kid-touching priest by staying far, far away from him or those who might be like him. “Connected” cars, on the other hand, cannot be avoided except by not buying them. Buy the equipment for in-car media players here.

Which might not be a bad idea, come to think of it.      

. .  .

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  1. I know it’s difficult to stuff the genie back into the bottle, but there needs to be a way to de-connect these vehicles. Without voiding the terms of the sales contract.

    I guess one could rip out the in-dash system and the new-style stupid antenna, and install an old-style stereo system. But then (thanks to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act), be in violation of the software’s copyright control over the vehicle. I don’t think it would render the vehicle non-functional, but it might make the dealer unwilling to perform any warranty work whatsoever, saying that the ripping out of the monitoring system voided the warranty.

    • Why support the manufuckturers by buying their garbage and then having to disconnect and work-around thousands of dollars worth of crap that you’ve paid for? Just by an old vehicle without all the crap to begin with. For the price of one of these new abominations, you can get a really nice restored car, or a fleet of more recent functional drivers.

  2. You think its bad now – 25 gigs per hour is the data that will be mined from us…… i dont even know you can consume that (a 4k movie streamed with 5.1 is about 6 gig an hour)…..

  3. I was a new car dealership’s F&I Manager for a time. And while I’ve reviewed contracts for decades, I was always amazed at just how much fine print (and I do mean fine – we’re talking about 6 point text here) was on the front and back of the vehicle purchase and finance contracts that customers HAD to sign. I don’t recall even one person ever reading any of it, although on occasion they would ask me to comment on what they were signing. I always told everyone to go ahead and read it if they want to. None did. I also told them that if they did read it, and they found any text in there anywhere that benefitted them in ANY way, that the contract writer had made a mistake. That usually got me a nervous laugh, and then they signed – without reading it of course.

  4. Since the manufacturer’s certificate of origin was surrendered to the federal government at the factory door, and we do not actually own our vehicles any more than we own our homes, in the absence of an allodial title, why would anyone argue that the federal government doesn’t have a legitimate interest in what we do with its property?

    • Actually, when my Tesla was delivered on truck, I received the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin from them.

      I had to surrender it to get title and registration however.

      I asked if I could have it back at the DMV, but no dice.

  5. When it comes to being targeted with ads, we can ignore them or grab the deal. “Hey, thank you! 30% discount on snow tires that I didn’t know about and was gonna have to shell out for anyway.”

    More ominous is the profiling potential. Take an exaggerated example. Say that most child molesters are found to wear blue socks, have sandy colored hair and last names that begin with the letters C, M and R more than would occur at random in the population. You fit the profile. Big Brother decides to monitor your movements with a Borg-style implant. “We know you’re probably not a child molester, but for safety’s sake, we need to play the numbers.”
    The “clovers” I guess you’d call them go along with it except for those unjustly targeted.

    Myself, I no longer trust my fridge and I’m starting to look suspiciously at my microwave.

    • In 1973, a fairly excellent TV movie, “The Stranger” was aired. A NASA astronaut crash-land on a “counter-Earth” (planet in Earth’s orbit but on the opposite side of the Sun) and finds himself in a totalitarian society (which somehow speaks English and drives early 70s Chrysler iron). A sympathetic doctor, knowing of the man’s alien origin, warns him that the TV “sees” as well as it’s watched, e.g., it’s an instrument of surveillance.

      Fast-forward some 45 years and most “Smart” TVs and virtually all phones, tablets, and cameras has a built-in camera (and mic)…which can readily be HACKED and used to spy on you, even when you think the device is off.

      • The only time any digital device is off is when ALL the batteries have been removed and it is disconnected from any source of power or control.

  6. I gave up TV 20 years ago, cars about 10. Living in China with good subway/bus systems and walkable neighborhoods helps a lot.
    With everything becoming software-enabled, right down to your athletic shoes, the chances of any future privacy are nil.
    Pray for peak oil, global warming, or anything else that might lead to the collapse of ‘civilization.’

    • Karalan, one could never really have much privacy in any city. But even today, living out in the sticks still offers a great deal of privacy. Other than having to drive occasionally, and having a mailbox, I have virtually no interaction with the government, nor any technologies, except for those which I choose to use (And I don’t use a cell phone, nor watch TV, etc.)- I still want to get out of the USA (This rural area was just a stop-gap, to get me out of the New York City area), but the first step towards realizing any degree of freedom and privacy, is to get as far away from the cities as possible.

    • Clover,

      For once, a sensible and coherent post!

      Yes. The Amish got it right. They peaceably withdrew and opted out. But your kind cannot abide this. Your kind always resorts to force when peaceable people decline to agree with or abide by your “plans” for them. The Amish are currently under assault buy your kind for everything from not being connected to the grid to not having saaaaaaaaaaafety features in their horse-drawn buggies.

      • The Amish, like the FLDS that peaceably establed their community in a West Texas hamlet ten years ago, are being persecuted for the heinous crime of living life on their own terms and insisting on being left alone as they likewise mind their own business and no one else’s. At some point, will the almighty state flex its muscle and arbitrarily jail all the men and herd the women and chlldren on scbool buses, the latter being placed into the “foster care” system with strangers whose interest is the money involved?

          • I kinda wonder about the spate of Amish-related “reality” shows, especuially with some “English” (as the Amish in the US commonly term outsiders) feminazi bitch putting in her $0.02 worth about Amish women being “abused”. Why wouldnt another Waco TX (1993) style FBI raid, with tragic results, be a surprise?

            • That’s why I gave up watching TV many years ago- EVERYTHING ya see on there is a perversion of reality, can not be trusted as being even 10% factual; and is pure mind-control.

              Most of the real Amish do not even want to be photographed. The Amish like their privacy.

              Any time you see a particular subject matter being harped on on TV- especially if it is being portrayed in a negative light, you can bet that some state “intervention” has already been planned, and the TV stuff is just pre-event damage control, so that the masses will think the tyranny is good instead of the evil that it really is.

  7. Americans hate freedom with a passion.

    Americans would rather get welfare instead of repealing regulations.

    Americans would rather obey a decree that all houses must be painted the same color instead of having the freedom to paint their homes any color they want.


    • Yep. Read the Communist Manifesto, and then observe that Americans are practricing all ten planks of it, and have been for quite some time. The stage was set in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the income tax; Then Prohibition in the 20’s was a great ruse to over-spread the country with Federal control. FDR’s presidency throughout the 30’s was like communism on steroids- a government plan and a federal agency for just about every facet of life and business. WW2 helped people to forget the ideals of personal freedom, as they banded together for a common cause, and rallied around the government and the military. You couldn’t express a sliver of dissent, ’cause everyone had a father, brother, uncle or son who gave their life for whatever it was they thought they were fighting for. And then, as the wealth got redistributed and the new infrastructure built in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s, people were enjoying the remnants of the former free-market capitalist system to care what was being shoved down their throat. And then it all started going downhill, as these last few decades have witnessed the final grasp for total social and economic control, and the gloves are taken off, as brutality is used against all who will not buckle-under, while the brainwashed masses plod sheepishly along, being happy as long as they can get their drugs, or some entitlement, or some phony “equality” which they are incapable of attaining themselves, because they are not “equal”.

      I’ll call that: My Brief History Of 20th-Century America!

    • I think a lot of people are descendants of the New England hyper religious types. They want the freedom to repress you in whatever way they choose.

      Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland has a pretty good description of the conflict that makes up the United States. Not a libertarian read by any stretch, but reminiscent of liberal political thought prior to the 1980s when the politicians decided to make everything a good -vs- evil cartoon.


  8. You know who loves all that Sync and OnStar shit? Females. My wife has a new Ford and the only damn thing she was interested in at the dealership was using the cell phone interface. She never even read the owner’s manual… once they showed her how to use that damned Sync that’s all she gave a damn about.

    Personally, I have a road map, a tire gauge, a base-model truck with vinyl mats and a stick, and a flip-phone… and when I turn the phone off no one can contact me.

    • X, I agree, there are a lot of females who love that crap, but there are a few of us who don’t. I am dreading the day my 89 Corolla gives up the ghost, and I have to go car shopping again. I will do my best to find another gem, will keep my wonderful road maps (tape the seams if I must) and hang on to my flip phone till the hinge goes. Women allow the world to shape them, for the most part. Marketing caters to, and douses them, with “goodies.” The large need to please and fit in with peers, limits their freedom. Not only that, by allowing feelings to pass by reason, our culture is subjected to a pulverization that would not happen (could not happen) had they not insisted on getting their way. It’s a mess. Makes me really miss John Wayne.

      • Hi Pam,

        Thank you for this very thoughtful post, first of all!

        I agree with you that all too many people are led astray by feelings and by social pressure. Men, too – as well as women. Consider, as an example, the degree to which men are pressured to be “into” sports. Not playing them – but watching them on TeeVee and endlessly talking about “the game.” A man who openly shows no interest in “the game” is regarded as suspect (I embrace this, incidentally).

        • Hi Eric,

          You’re right. It is, more realistically, a human thing. Appreciated you reminding me. : )

          BTW, have you been able to pick up Technocracy Rising yet? Curious to get your thoughts about it.

      • Regarding road maps. I have driven across the US half a dozen times, and half that far even more times, and all since the advent of sail fawns, gps, mapquest, etc. I always use a 10 year old road atlas, and I aint got “lost” yet. I remind my auto-repair customers that although there may be new roads being added to “electronic maps” every month or so, I have yet to see any of the old roads being simultaneously rolled up and put away, so a paper map does me just fine. I also have a flip-phone I only carry when I’m out driving, and it stays off. It is just my substitute for the demise of the “pay phone”, and I doubt that I use it 10 times in a year!

      • John Wayne eh? I’d say he was a big part of pushing state agenda. I had a lawyer once who worshiped JW. It was sign I didn’t take and still regret. FUCK JW and the horse he rode in on!

        • Amen to that,8! JW was a drunken fool who promoted the empire’s wars and considered anyone who voiced opposition to them to be “traitors”. He liked his own freedom- that which his money and celebrity status afforded him, but the message he put forth was “serve the state and subordinate your own priorities to work together for ‘the common good’ of some fanciful idea of ‘America’ in which the highest calling of man is to chase pussy and be a mercenary for the state, whether enlisted or freelance.

          • Eightsouthman and Nunzio,

            To be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a JW film for at least 30 years, and have grown to learn a lot about how things work in the meantime. I’m guessing it is probably the same stuff that I have come to realize about Lincoln, who had a huge hand in the demise of State sovereignty and usurping the Constitution. Repeatedly. Thank you for the heads up.

    • Even putting aside the privacy issues and all, I don’t understand how people can stand to always be futzing with a damn phone, and to always be on a leash (be reachable). One needs no other proof that we will never see freedom on a large scale, just by reason of the fact that the majority not only tolerate, but even pay good money for and chomp at the bit to have all of this nonsense, when it is nothing but an electronic leash in every sense of the word- from being constantly reachable; to having your whereabouts monitored by the government and corporations. And they LOVE it! They adore it! They don’t want to live without it!

      • Social addiction. And it has been there forever. The problem now, is that it’s portable, and can be a 24-7 source of instant gratification. No more waiting to socialize after work with a beer or two at the bar. No more need to hang out at the drive-in or fast food joints like we, or our parents did. The laptop, wifi, and smartphone have provided such a realistic “social environment”, that no one need get up off their ass to socialize. Worse yet, the portability of this “social environment” means they no longer have to “sop socializing” as they go about their busy day.
        I frequently have customers at my counter “stroking” their PET (personal electronic thingy). I stop all conversation with them and start to ignore them until they are ready to shut it off and discuss their automobile issues. If they are in a hurry to drop off their car, they quickly learn to cut the damn thing off, or I won’t ever get to the point of getting their keys, or making a work order, lol! You can actually retrain these people, or at least probe their priorities, and in my business, if getting their car repaired and getting me paid, isn’t high on their priority list, I don’t want them at my shop. You can’t imagine how much that has improved the quality of my customers, and, my reputation. Good customers not only pay the bills, but also refer other good customers.
        “Word of mouth” now also includes your customer’s “electronic network”, so I let them use their social media to send me business. I don’t bother to advertise anymore, beyond posting my hours and a phone number. If I stay busy enough to pay my bills, but not overrun by an excessive workload, then I meet my needs, and theirs in a timely manner. This is primarily why I don’t hire employees any longer, nor do I need to. Greed and social addiction drive successful businesses to expand, and ultimately collapse under their own weight. You will always have customer turnover regardless of their satisfaction level. The larger my customer volume, the greater the attrition rate, and the harder it is to have new replacements. Smaller numbers of customers are better served, and have much greater loyalty and longevity, many into multiple generations of the same family.

        • GTC, that is probably the most important ontramanurial thing I ever learned over the years: You don’t just want ANY customer. We’re not walmart. As a small bidness or one-man show, we want the cream of the crop; the top 20% of customers. The ones who are easy to work with and fair; who appreciate a good job and fair prices/fair treatment, and who won’t stiff you, or stab you in the back for $5.

          We don’t need the guy who’s looking for the rock-bottom price, who sees an ad in the paper for some chain place advertising oil changes for $9.99 and wants us to match it! Go the chain place, buddy! See what it costs you when all is said and done.

          One has to learn to fire the bad customers! I wish I would have learned that a lot earlier in life. It’s true across the board, in every business.

          The best thing, is to send the crappy customers to your competitors!

  9. “Talmudic small-print legalese” – I love that phrase.

    I remember a decade ago the US Data Collection program was called Echelon. It was monitoring all electronic communication searching for verboten words to forward to the CIA and FBI. There was a campaign launched where the entire list of verboten verbiage would be forwarded in in chain mail to overwhelm the system. I joyfully participated to the fear of some of my friends who received the verboten verbiage. Perhaps the solution is to overwhelm these modules and have everyone driving at 1000MPH and being a Schrodinger cat, existing in two states simultaneously. 2+2≠4 you know.

    Amazing how prescient Mr. Eric Arthur Blair was nearly 70 years ago. Had he only envisioned telescreens advertising consumer products to a deluded mass of brainless consumers and narcissists gladly handing over constantly updated high resolution photos of themselves, their friends and family, their locations, their politics and their consumptions. I believe Mr. Orwell could never have imagined that as he had some belief in a rudimentary intelligence of mankind even if he understood the nefarious natures of its leaders and their machinations.

    • ThoughtCriminal, I really think that they are already incapable of actually handling all the snoop data in a meaningful way. At least not in a way that would allow it to be of any use for what they overtly claim they are collecting it for. That is probably why they flag common words from everyday people; so they can occasionally just pick out some random person and enact a false alarm on them, which of course will generate publicity- to give the masses the idea that our thug overlords are omniscient and omnipresent- when in-fact, it is all smoke and mirrors. The power is in the image they conjure in the hearts of the masses.

      In reality, the only “terror” they could stop is that which they instigate.

  10. Eric –

    “kid-touching priests”?

    Fear mongering hysteria?

    So, father touches the pee-pee of a 15 year old altar boy and the kid is ruined for life?

    That mindset complements the safety satraps.

  11. Consumers are begging for this crap, just like the V2V and Auto-Drive programming. Then they all bitch about how outrageously expense it is to repair, believe me I hear it all the time. But what about all the “safety” and the hundreds of dollars they saved on “insurance” by allowing this crap into their cars? When it comes to the majority of the car-buying public: fool me once, twice, ad infinitum! Oh look, another real word spell-check doesn’t recognize, imagine that! Just another example of societal enstupidation. Correction, make that 2 words.

    • Are they really? With so much Fake News, Fake Opinions and Fakery in general, I am very skeptical of any of these claims of what consumers “demand.” The Ministry of Truth tells us what we want and we are heretics if we claim that isn’t so.

      Face it, when was the last time you were able to purchase a product that you wanted in all its qualities? You have to eat you meat or you can’t have any pudding.

      If not for ebay and buying very old well made things at fair prices, there would be nothing I purchased in 20 years that was what I really wanted in all of its qualities at a reasonable price. Of course ebay will soon fall under the heal of Big Brother with his armed tax agents.

      • TC2084: Yes, they are, really. Fake news is one thing, fake automobiles is another. Nor did I say “demand”. There is another connotation to the term “begging” which refers to “asking for that which we do not want”, as in “begging for abuse”. Not that people want to be ripped off, but, yes, consumers frequently ask for all the glitter and pizazz without considering the nature of the manner of delivery.
        I purchase what I deem useful, whether by virtue of appearance or utility and sometimes both, so there is very little for me to “face”, that I have not already considered. Perhaps I am better informed, have less disposable income, or just don’t give a shit for what everyone else has in spades. I also eat what I choose, when I choose, literally, and metaphorically, so piss off!
        I guess you don’t buy any gasoline, electricity, drinking water, clean underwear, or soap, by your own admission. See, we can play the stupid little “twist someone else’s words to get attention for lack of anything original, or insightful to say” game too.
        BTW, the word is “heel”, not “heal”, or did you fail 4th grade vocabulary?
        Better yet, instead of trolling and targeting someone else’s opinion for attention, why don’t you actually contribute something constructive to the fucking subject at the top of the page? Or are you going to just stick with your usual adolescent, dick-measuring, pissing-contest quality contributions? If so, there is a whole world of internet out there for your prick-waving enjoyment.

      • Yes, people “surveyed” will say they want this crap. Just like when they’re asked about food choices they’ll say they want “healthy” options. They say what they think the surveyor wants to hear or what they think will make them look good/smart/progressive/hip.

        I had to practically give away 900 cases of eggplant lasagna to the SC Dept. of Corrections(prisons) because no one would by the stuff. Although, research showed that’s what people “demanded” they be served…in a survey, of course.

        • I take part in a semi-monthly opinion survey, usually about political thought, but sometimes technology and lifestyle in general. The questions are always multiple choice, with some open ended comment sections at the end. It gets pretty hard to voice a libertarian view in these surveys when they load the deck with non-choice questions. The closest I get is usually at the beginning they ask if I’m registered Democrat, Republican or “other.” But then all the questions begin with “Of the two choices, which one is closest to your views?” I’m fairly certain the comments I add are ignored.

          Of course the flip side are the innovators who figure it out and present the world with something they didn’t know they wanted. Ford, David Sarnoff, and Steve Jobs were able to do that. They are the ones that everyone aspires to be. Except that most aren’t in the same league, so they end up screwing with the gingerbread and calling it innovation.

        • Mark, if I am not mistaken that was the Ford Edsel’s problem too. Ford took a bunch of surveys and built the car around the results showing what people “wanted”. But when the Edsel came out it was pretty much rejected by the people.

          Not unlike The Homer.

    • Exactly. I hate to say it, well, not really, but this penchant of the public buying into all this techno-crap in their cars is perfectly aligned with libertarianism. Give up their privacy? Why, it’s their choice, and their choice rules the market just as libertarian doctrine demands. There’s really no problem here at all for libertarians.

      But there sure as hell is for what few conservatives are left out there. That’s why paleoconservatism is my cup of tea. Paleos don’t necessarily think that the voice of the people is the voice of God, no matter how freely and voluntarily that voice came to its conclusions.

      • Morning, Ross!

        This is an interesting question – an interesting problem. I also dislike the rip tide-effect of public preferences, which often are driven by a kind of mania – even idiocy – and which have the effect of forcing everyone – or so it feels like – to swim in the same direction. The embrace of gadgets is an obvious example. God-awful “popular” music is another. This can be and often is annoying. But provided we’re not actually forced to accept whatever it is, adopt the technology, etc. – and can opt out of it, if we wish – then I cannot endorse the use of force to deny others their choice to buy/use whatever it is they are interested in.

        For instance, I have no issue with these “connected” cars – as such. Provided we’re still free to buy, own and drive cars that are not “connected.” On the same principle, I demand my right to do as I like with my body on my property – and be left in peace to do so, even if others dislike or disagree with what I do. Provided I cause no harm to anyone else thereby. This includes everything from erecting a massive statue to Hxtlopochtli in my back yard and dancing in goatskin leggings around it (if I wanted to do that) to having a harem of agreeable women and a fleet of motorcycles in my living room, etc. And not being threatened with violence to cough up “taxes” on my land and home because other people decided to have children whom the existence of which they insist imposes an obligation enforceable at gunpoint upon me to provide funds to “help” educate and feed them and so on.

        Paleoconservatism advocates use of force to conserve the status quo ante – “what it was like before.”

        And to negate the choice of those they disagree with on matters of personal choice.

        And to use violence to force other people to do (and fund) the things paleoconservatives consider worth doing and funding.

        For me, the real enemy is – as always – collectivism empowered via coercion. That is to say, democracy.

        • Top of the morning to you too. Dang, I gotta get the dishes done yet before turning in, so I’ll try to be brief. Right. 🙂

          Re paleos: I’m not sure you’re entirely correct about the paleos, from what I’ve read from Pat Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, and the like. True, the paleos favor supporting certain societal institutions such as restraint on immigration, protecting fetuses from destruction by women who had voluntary intercourse (rape is another subject), the encouragement of certain cultural artifacts (and as Russell Kirk noted, these can vary from culture to culture) and discouragement of others (e.g.defecating in public, as now practiced in New York and other places). It’s hard for me to see a problem with any of these.

          None of these things strikes me as an infringement of liberty; libertinism maybe, but not liberty. In fact, what’s interesting to me is that under an approximately paleoconservative, minarchic goverment in old America (roughly up to around 1916) we had much more freedom than we do now, bans on cursing in public, spitting on sidewalks, and pregnant schoolteachers notwithstanding.

          I fully agree that it would be nice if we weren’t obliged to buy the same spymobiles the public likes so well, but the public’s choice and thus the manufacturers can’t be criticized from a libertarian point of view. Paleos can still consistently dismiss the public’s taste as rubbish, however.

          • Hi Ross,

            I’m with you, actually, on most of the above. I’d be ecstatic to re-set things to the level of liberty we enjoyed as recently as the 1970s. I understand the imperfection of things and the importance of not insisting upon perfection.

            I also agree with you in re such things as defecating in public. Of course, the key word (and problem) there is public. Many – most – issues can be resolved via property rights. If – as an example – I own a restaurant I have every right to forbid such gross behavior (or any behavior) on my premises. But who owns “public” areas? Effectively, the government does. It sets terms and conditions. This means a relative handful of people have arbitrary control over property – which property is invariable financed by theft (taxation).

            End taxation – abolish theft – and property becomes a private issue, its disposition to be handled privately.

            A really good example here is the current contretemps over who may and may not use bathrooms. If I own the bathroom, then I get to decide who uses it. The men use the men’s room, women use the women’s room – and the confused use someone else’s room!

            • When it’s “public” property, it’s nobodies property. It’s only natural it gets shit on then.

              Did you know there are poop maps of San Francisco?

        • Ah, “fellow Pagan” (People Against Goodness and Normalcy : P-A-G-A-N)…have you tasted of the “Nectar of Shi-Tan” lately? It appears that you didn’t forget your goat leggings!

          Seriously, that’s just it. You are NOT free to live your life as you see fit. Have a gaggle of old cars and bikes on your property and “code enforcement” will harass you. Cavort about with a harem of nubile young females and some wag will call the authorities that either they’re underage or you’re “abusing”, with that sourpuss shyster bitch, Gloria Allred, getting her self-serving sound bite in. Just ask David Koresh what happens when you establish a religious commune on your own land…oh, wait, you CAN’T, he and his pathetic followers were massacred by Federal agents back in ’93, with the assistance of US Army AFVs (funny how “Posse Comitatus” was ignored).

      • But you’re assuming a perfect free market too. Where the cost of entry isn’t tied up with onerous regulation and minimal requirements for doing business. And look up “right to repair” to get an eyeful of what the world is coming to.

        Now as you (sort of) point out, there’s a EULA that you have to agree to in order to use many products. You as consumer must agree to the terms of the EULA, in full. As a practical matter, I cannot mark up the EULA and cross out the terms I don’t agree with and send it back to the company, any more than I can order a vehicle without a given “package” that ends up adding on a bunch of stuff I don’t want, but because the factory isn’t willing to do a true custom build. I have to take it or leave it. Oh, I suppose I could contact my lawyer and have him do the paperwork, or pay exorbitant extra costs (when I was buying my Audi I found out that in Europe I could order with only the options I wanted and import it to the US, but that’s not really an option since it would drastically increase the price), but again in an aggressively regulated market, my lawyer is much too expensive for a simple EULA agreement. It’s all take it or leave it because we have no leverage. Interesting to note that the ACLU is silent on these matters. Makes me wonder where their funding is coming from…

        In a true competitive market I could seek out a coach builder who would be happy to accommodate my desires without forcing a bunch of extras I don’t. And that coach builder could be located in China, or Africa or Canada for all I care. And given the cost of products coming out of the 3rd world factories custom builds would probably be affordable for a middle class income too.

    • Linkedin is filled with empty skulls behind keyboards with white collar jobs drooling and fawning over whatever GM posts or wetting their pants for driverless cars and complete slavery.

  12. Dealing with Walmart or Ford is one thing: Dealing with government entities is on a whole different level.

    Every hot-shot hero goes for that EDR every time they can. THOSE are the people that scare the crap out of me.

    Sally the marketer at Home Depot I can deal with. At least she won’t try to kill or cage me if I tell her my data is none of her freak’n business.

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want ANYONE getting it. But when asshat heroes and prosecutors are involved, that takes everything to a deadly level.

  13. I think we are at the point where we are going to have to build are own vehicle because of the entanglement of the manufacturers with uncle

    • These guys have the right idea. https://rusefi.com/wiki/index.php?title=Manual:Current_Status
      Certainly never expect Marry Barra and her ilk to ever sell an open source, consumer controlled ecu. It takes some rogue types to make an open source or even linux based ECU that could bring these federal hog trough whores to their knees. It would essentially be a plug-n-play OS for X model of cars and hardware. Just need someone else to start making interchangeable hardware not loaded with spy crap like blue star and I would be the first in line to swap out every part in my truck.

      • That is a big job. Basically every model cars software would have to be reversed engineered. And completely replaced by functioning software so the car can be used. Do it wrong and the car is a paperweight, or performs poorly.

        Leave any of the automakers code, they will sue you for using it or altering it without permission.

        Remember the only ones that own software are the people who create it. Software is licensed to end users and it can be taken back for many reasons or even no reason. You do not own the software in the car you are making payments on or even if you have the title to it. It’s not yours and never will be.

        Probably why there is very little in the way of custom car software. Every other part of a car over the decade can be customized completely.

        If somehow a custom car software business develops, look for more restrictions on software from uncle, automakers and large software companies. They will probably try to keep ownership of key hardware to prevent software change outs.

        • I agree but… If wiping the ECU removes whatever tracking capability (theoretically) how could Gee Em/Fud/Italian Ram know whats going on? I wiped my hard drive on my old Dell with Vista and installed Ubuntu. whatever residual Windows spyware doesn’t boot anymore. However, the Intel chips and AMD now do have backdoors for tracking, master slave control over your hardware even if on open source. I’m sure there are enough intelligent people that can concoct a spyware free car from scratch in a late model fashion.

      • Not only would it be a huge undertaking it would be illegal. That Talmudic fine print that Eric spoke of that you are signing in the purchase contract forbids it. Some owners of John Deere tractors tried to modify and or replace the software in their tractors and were successfully sued by John Deere for copyright infringement. It also turns out that due to copyright laws the purchasers of those tractors are not actually the owners. John Deere through it’s proprietary software retains most of the rights to the equipment it sells. When you buy it you get to use it, but only under their terms and conditions. I’m pretty sure it would be the same for any other make of a car, truck, vehicle, equipment that has electronics.

        • Yeah, I read about that issue with JD about a year ago. How’s that for a big F.U. to the small minority who still do something useful in our society? I get the same crap thrown at me in the auto-repair profession, and I’m just going to find something else to do once I run out of “real” cars to repair. Screw the 150K investment every 5 years for this instantly obsolete techno-crap that passes for an automobile now, let the garbage coming in the next 10 years or less.

    • that old hei distributor with one wire and a four pin module is still the best computer I ever fixed. I buoght a remanned one once that a 8 cylinder pick up coil and six cylinder stator felt real smart when I figured it out

      • Hah, tht ain’t no computer, its nothing more than an on-off switch triggered by a small pulse of current generated by a magnet passing by a simple coil.
        Friend had a MotoGuzzi Vee Twin, moster bike, that limped home on one lung one night. Not having any spare cash, he just parked it on its centre stand in the garage. I was visiting, asked him why he didn’t ride it any more, the story came out. I started to look at it.. HEY’ its a bosch electronic ignition system, one complete system for each side, the only part i common being the magnet on the flywheel hitting both pickup coils. Easy peasy. Ohmmeter checked the pickups, both good. Plugs, wires, etc, all same. One magnet, if one hole lights, that ain’t the problem. Came down to the igniter… the little magic black box, potted in an epoxy pour and cased in a fancy aluminium shell with cooling fins. Could that be the problem? I swapped them, the dead hole moved to the other side. OK, got the culprit in the corsshairs. Wrote down the Bosch ten digit part number, called my Bosch warehouse distributor… can’t find that number, what;s it on. OHHHhhhh.. sad story thats almost certainly a proprietary product, available ONLY through the marque system. Called the Guzzi spares men in San Francisco…. yeah, we got one, $450 plus tax. WWWHHHHAAAAAAAAATTTTt??!!??!! Put down my tools, put on my thinking cap. I asked my friend if he had a spare distributor from his old Chev pickemup truck with a rodded 350 in it. He said yup.. went and got it. I snaffled the twenty dollar four pin “module” from the distributore body, traced the wires inside the distributor to see which went to what, made up an adaptor harness out of crimp on spades, wired the twenty dollar GM HEI module into the Guzzi’s guts, hit the kicker and off it went, purring like a content Italian kitty cat. My friend picked up his jaw off the floor, took it for a spin.. a FAST spin, and declared it to be every bit as strong, smooth, and powerful as it ever was. He asked me how much he owed me, and I told him “the satisfaction of having gamed Bosch and MotoGuzzi is all the reward I need. that and a cup of your awesome great coffee, and we’re square”. And I had it all figured out and done in far less time than it would have taken to drive from Santa Rosa to San Francisco in best traffic.

        All in, a satisfying afternoon. And proof that most of the junk they string together to make engines fun is all the same anyway.

        • Now that’s American ingenuity. Many a long year ago my dad had a new 350 Kawasaki which repeatedly fried its CDI (capacitor discharge ignition). Those modules were 80 bucks a pop, which at that time was about 10 percent of the bike’s purchase price new!

          I still miss the point ignitions of yore, which were understandable, cheaply fixable, and worked well.

      • Just wait another couple of years. they’ve had electronic shifting ten and eleven speed chain derailleur systems for a few years now. Sooon enough someone will programme a road speed sensor along with the cadence sensor (pedal RPM) and a small microprosessor that can “learn” your riding preferences and it will do all the shifting for you. And of ciurse, with all the tech already in production, Chairman Mao and His Agents and Assigns will soon enough be able to track your commute pushbike’s location speed, gear selection, calories you’ve burned, heartrate, and everything else they want to know… and that setup will likely incude voice transmission to ship off your conversations with your riding partners as you roll along. With the government as god mindset, that is precisely where this is going.

  14. Just wait, it’s gonna get much worse.


    “Whether Hulu has more ad-free viewers or not, one thing is certain: the 5 million US subscribers Netflix has acquired over the last year are all watching ad-free. (emphasis added) Moreover, much of their viewing on the service replaces time they previously would have spent with ad-supported television.

    Mr. Martin is right to be fearful. In a few years, the vast majority of scripted show viewing could be lost to advertisers completely.”

    If people have a pay alternative that doesn’t try to gouge them, they’ll take it. Netflix and to a lessor extent Amazon Prime TV is destroying traditional TV and a big reason is because it is ad free. My cable TV industry is at a crossroads because right now it is the worst of all worlds: 20 minutes/hr of advertising, extremely expensive subscription and lots of restrictions on playback devices. Youtube is free with preroll ads (that can still be easily skipped), and just because of the infinite monkey theory of Shakespearian authorship some of the content is actually pretty good.

    The car touchscreen is a unplowed field for these guys. Since the end of broadcast radio (for many of the same reasons cable TV is circling the drain), and the rise of the smartphone and subscription music services, advertisers (well technically ad agencies desperate for relevance in an age where businesses can establish communications directly with customers) are looking for any sort of way to churn up business. Never mind that drivers are are assaulted with advertising everywhere, from simple signage for a business to video billboards, offramp service listings and even people dressed up in costumes waving signs.

    And how much are all those eyeballs worth? Surprisingly much less than you might think. Facebook earns about $4 per quarter per user. That’s considered pretty good in the industry. I’d be happy to pay $12/yr for a social network service that treats me like a customer instead of a product. But unfortunately the ad dragon is too seductive. Even if there were such a service the investors would demand advertising be part of the business plan and it would wind up like cable where there’s both advertising and subscription revenue.

    But back to the automobile touchscreen. My Jeep has a legalese screen that comes on every time I start the vehicle, with an “accept” button. Mostly telling you how insane you have to be to trust the navigation system, but it refers you to a web site for all the details, which I’m sure include tracking and other data collection. It also comes equipped with the U-Connect system, which was free for the first year but now costs a whopping $15/month! That’s for the ability to remote start, locate, unlock, and open the tailgate from your phone and I guess use WiFi in the car if you are in an area with acceptable Sprint coverage, a tall order outside the city. I’d probably pay for a SIM card add-on for my existing T-Mobile plan, but that’s not an option. And I’d probably pay something (still not $15/month) if they would keep it updated with the newest software, since the 2017 models got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. But because a car is considered a complete object when it goes out the door, too bad you should have waited. So there it sits, with the maps not updated (another insane cost considering alternatives like free mapping software on phones and low-cost navigation from just about everywhere), a useless cellular modem and annoying bugs that will never be fixed. But I’m sure if there’s an accident someone will be able to download telemetry from the black box and determine that my throttle position wasn’t where it should have been or that my brake pedal wasn’t depressed hard enough just so they can assign blame.

    • At some point Netflix will have to add ads. Studios like Disney and CBS are creating their own streaming services and make it harder and more expensive for Netflix to get content. If Netflix can’t get things like the new Star Trek series or Disney movies they will have problems.

      I remember cable tv not having ads. All of the channels, not just premium ones like HBO. It didn’t last long. I am surprised Netflix has held out so far.

      • Well, that’s really where we’ll end up, with studios rolling their own services. The only reason they didn’t go that route to begin with was because it was hard to bill customers. But now there’s whole B2B companies that take care of all that back-end stuff seamlessly, so no problem. The downside is that they’ll price their wares as if they’re selling VHS tapes instead of running a server. CBS wants an incredible sum for their streaming channel, and considering there’s exactly one show I might watch, I’ll pass. Maybe Netflix will become a second tier service, where if you just wait a few months you’ll be able to see it there.

        What I always found strange was why, back when satellite distribution first started, didn’t the studios and networks just go direct to home? Actuated satellite mounts were common on C-band and the Ku band satellites could do the same thing. My guess is there’s probably some regulation preventing it.

        • In early days of satellites tv, there were probably still executives working there, that remembered the government splitting up of the movie studios and theaters. So they didn’t like the idea that the government would probably throw a wet blanket on that.

          Plus most didn’t think there was any money in it (same thing with home video), so they were louth to invest studio money in it. The early cable companies probably scored some great deals back then. I think my folks paid as little as 8 bucks for cable back then. Funny how netflix was 8 bucks too.

          But as soon as the studios saw they could make some big money, then they got greedy about it. Sorry, no movie is worth $25-$60 a copy. Had they gone with the $5-$10 model, they would have had no pirates.

          I doubt the current studio executives think they will have anti-trust problems with their own streaming services. They may or may not be wrong. I think CBS counts on trekkies forking over for that one show. I am with you, its not worth it, and won’t bite, CBS has nothing else worth watching. Hopefully that is the case for a lot of people, and this studio by studio streaming thing dies early. But it looks like netfllx is buying or producing more of its own programming to survive.

      • Netflix is already losing or unable to get a lot of popular content like Disney and Pixar movies, HBO shows and many new releases. They are being forced to create their own content. Amazon is following the same path.

          • The fact that so many people continue to watch all of that garbage, is the single most deafening proof of how utterly brainwashed and braindead the [w]hole of Western society has become- and that things are not going to get better; only worse.

            • Things have always gone downhill from the reset of a revolution, which is a return to the way that things used to be.
              I’m looking forward to the next correction in the markets, when those who have cash, be it currency or PMs, will be able to buy whatever they want for pennies on the dollar.
              I have read that someone bought a block in NYC for an ounce of gold at the bottom of the Great Depression. Imagine what that block is worth today given the bubble that real estate is in. Fortunes have already been made in shorting bitcoin. The Dow will come down like an unguyed tower, eventually.

              • I dunno about a whole block for a bar of gold, Bill, but my friend’s grandmother did buy about 5 houses around NYC for 10 cents on the dollar during the Depression.

              • I expected that the last cycle. It didn’t really happen as the central banks ran in. In the next crash they’ll do negative interest rates and if that doesn’t work they appear to be planing to do outright confiscation of saver’s wealth.

                • A federal law passed several years ago makes anything deposited into a federally-insured financial institution their property.
                  Under that law, you become an unsecured creditor, and they pay the unsecured creditors last. If that isn’t “outright confiscation”, I don’t know what it is.

    • All that rigmarole in a Jeep, fer pete’s sake. I find it grimly amusing to see the ads and reviews of modern Jeeps blathering about their techno-comforts, gadgets, and frou-frou accompaniments.

      • I test drove the new 2018 Cherokee last year. The steering wheel had more doo-dads and buttons than a QWERTY keyboard, a real case of Peking Revenge. I accidentally touched the pedal shifters on the back of the wheel (another stupid annoying gizmo) while doing 45 down a feeder road and dropped it into 1st gear with my foot on the accelerator. RPMs flew into the danger zone before I knew what the hell I had done. I asked the sales tech what was going on and let off the accelerator before the tranny blew up and he downshifted it on the pedals again. Wife and I concluded the Jeep was a piece of junk after that, not worth driving.

        • I asked a guy the other day about his Wrangler. He said he had a Chevy pickup for road use and the Wrangler worked fine for slow speed, lease work. He did say it was loud, rough and the west Tx. wind blew it around on the highway.

        • Brazos,

          And that’s when the damned thing is new and working perfectly…. Imagine in a few years!!!!!

          These cars are becoming like cell phone: Just as the phones do 100 things, with actually making a phone call seemingly being the one function which was given the least thought, and you’re often lucky if it works as good as a landline from the 1960’s when they were still using 1930’s equipment…so too these cars seem to do everything, except just drive down the street as normal cars.


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