It’s a reliable bet that every word you read purveyed by the government-corporate nexus means its opposite. “Contributions” you’re forced to make; the “customer” who can’t say no.
And the Alliance for Automotive Innovation – which seeks to stifle that very thing.
Using fear to get keep people from asking any questions and just doing what they’re told they must to keep themselves saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe.
What is the AAI, then? It is an alliance, all right – of the car cartels, against you. Against innovation and for stagnation.
It is a political lobbying – and marketing – group that serves as a front for most of the major car companies, including General Motors, Ford and Honda – which wants to terrify you into agreeing with them that no one but one of their authorized dealers should be able to work on your car.
That you should not be able to work on your own car, in other words. But those words are never used, of course.
Instead, other words. Scary words.
The AAI funded a TeeVee ad campaign recently through another front, this one styled the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data that says – which shows, graphically – if you don’t agree to this then you’ll be raped by a stranger some dark and stormy night.
“Domestic violence advocates (sic) say a sexual predator could use (your car’s) data to stalk their victims. Pinpoint exactly where you are. Whether you are alone…”
Leaving aside the teeth-aching illiteracy – who advocates domestic violence? – we are left with this despicable narrative that Stranger Danger lurks everywhere – like the Wuflu – and you’d better be so scared of it that you “vote NO” (their all caps) on a ballot measure that would prohibit the car companies from electronically sealing the hood of your car, by denying you – or any independent mechanic – access to the diagnostic data without which you cannot service any modern car.
This is not just a Massachusetts issue, either.
By making it so only their authorized dealers can access the data stream necessary to perform almost repair beyond an oil and filter change – because almost everything else requires plugging the car in – not for electricity – but to communicate with its computer.
Some new cars require this plugging in to change the battery; some will not accept a replacement part like a headlight unless the proper coding/flashing rigamarole is followed and to do that, you need to be able to communicate with the car’s computer.
The car companies – hiding behind the AAI – want to deny access to what they consider their computer – and code – which happens to be in your car. Which amounts to denying you functional ownership of your car, since they assert ownership over the data and software which makes it go.
The same is happening with agricultural equipment. John Deere has been trying to assert ownership over the tractors it sold – after the sale – by making it so the tractor is electronically tethered to John Deere dealers.
You want it fixed?
You take it there.
Massachusetts and other states have “right to repair” laws on the books – or pending to be written onto those books – and that’s what the AAI (and John Deere) have been fighting.
This goes back a long way.
All cars made since the mid-1990s have a kind of open-source data port called OBD II, the acronym standing for OnBoard Diagnostics II. No matter the make or model – from the lowliest Hyundai to the haughtiest Mercedes Maybach – they all have the same universal port underneath the steering wheel, which accepts the same universal plug-in scan tool, which anyone can buy – and thus, use. Making it possible for anyone to download and read the “trouble codes” which you must have in order to know what’s wrong with the car and repair it – and then clear the codes once the trouble has been fixed.
Auto parts stores like NAPA and Autozone offer this service, too – for a lot less than a dealership.
OBD II came along after OBDI – which wasn’t universal. Different makes/models had different access methods and if you didn’t have the right scanning tools/access to the codes and what they meant, you couldn’t service the car. You had to take it to a dealer – who was the only one who had the scanning/diagnostic equipment.
There was an uproar over this, which is why OBD II replaced OBD I.
Right-to-repair laws are founded upon the not unreasonable notion that the car companies sold you the car, including whatever code/data it contains.
Now the AAI wants to stifle that innovation and create a kind of vehicular company town in which you may drive the car but you never really own it, even if you paid for it – because they control it.
They hope to do this by using a loophole in existing right-to-repair laws that doesn’t say anything about restricting access to wireless data.
Many cars already have this feature in the form of “concierge” systems (e.g., OnStar) which enable remote access to the car’s computer-controlled systems (e.g., we can unlock your car for you if you lock yourself out). A car so equipped – which is most cars made since the early 2000s – can be remotely disabled in the same way. With drive-by-wire controls – which almost all new cars have already – it is possible to externally control – and to hack – things like throttle and gear selection.
By locking down the data stream.
Or at least, lock anyone but their dealer techs from being able to do anything under the hood.
The fear-sell being used by the AAI is that if you don’t agree to being locked out, the hacker-predator will get you. Like “the virus,” you cannot see it – and it’s probably not there.
But you had better be very afraid of it.
The AAI says “It’s important to note that 99.9 percent of (opposition funding) comes from the Auto Care Association.”
This evil entity represents independent repair shops and parts sellers – those dastardly people who want to offer an alternative to the dealership, thereby increasing competition for your business, which usually means lower cost and better service.
It also means being able to service your car yourself, at no cost (beyond the parts).
Which is your right, since you’re the one who paid for the thing.
The car companies have forgotten this. Perhaps because they’re too busy trying to scare up business for themselves.
. . .
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