I have always been fascinated by the Progressive Insurance advertisement that excitedly proclaims insurance savings. All you have to do is plug their driving device into your car for thirty days and then bring it back to them. According to the ad, “Flo” is all excited about this new device of savings.
What the ad doesn’t say is how the garage-door-sized device truly works. The device plugs into your car; confirms your vehicle identification number; and then monitors the cars driving habits for thirty days. Originally, the device contained GPS that would have specifically shown the exact travel of the car. Progressive claims that they have removed GPS from the device.
The device does tell just about everything else including speed, driving distances and other driving habits specific to that car, that has consumer organizations concerned. After you bring the device back to Progressive for your insurance quote, I am told that they then leave the device in your car another 6 months, if you do purchase insurance.
Of course, someone may choose to allow Progressive to have such knowledge access. Separately, USA Today recently did an article that also proclaims that current cars are basically “rolling computers”. The transponders in these cars are transmitting information that can then be sold to third parties.
A car manufacturer may have you sign small print documents that allow them to notify an oil change business to contact you, when the car has traveled a certain distance. The car computer even keeps records of the car’s use of cruise control, cabin temperature settings and how long it might sit in traffic.
The attached USA Today article is long with several examples of “car knowledge”. It’s just something to think about when you are in your car. Maybe the computer would also say that no one is taking “Sunday afternoon drives” for relaxation, like they sometimes do in the movies. It’s all a question about what is an invasion of privacy.
For pic o’ day, I pulled out an “oldy”. Let’s see what Flo thinks about this driver’s cautious habits: