Street wise, privacy foolish

Street wise, privacy foolish

Today’s Boston Globe runs a breathless article about an MIT project that tracks cars in real time. The cars are loaded with sensors that connect to open wireless Internet access points as they drive by, sending data about their position, speed, the condition of the road, and so on.

The researchers have used the data to determine the fastest route during rush hour, to help a limo service track and deploy its vehicles most efficiently, and to track potholes by the way they affect the accelerometers used in the sensors.

Throughout the article, everyone involved—including the reporter who should have been more objective—is unabashedly positive about the promise of the technology for helping drivers get around traffic, to analyze vehicle performance, and so on and so forth.

Yet, the reporter never asks the obvious question and the researchers are not recorded as bringing it up: Who in their right mind wants to put a tracking device in their own car?

Officer, please record my every move

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli