A columnist at Computerworld discusses the privacy problems connected with surreptitious tracking of drivers by car dealerships.
There was a story on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday about some car dealers in Oregon installing hidden GPS tracking devices in vehicles sold to individuals with poor or downright bad credit. The rationale apparently is that the devices would help the dealers quickly track down and repossess their vehicles in the event that a customer defaulted on payments. According to the report, the devices are often installed in an undisclosed location in the vehicle because the dealers don’t want customers disabling or tampering with them. […]
The issue, though, is about disclosure. It’s one thing to install the devices and then inform customers about it, but an entirely different thing if that is done without any notice. One of the car dealers who appeared on the show said that he always informed buyers about the tracking devices and that they didn’t appear to mind when he told them the reason why the devices were there. But what about the others, who aren’t informing their customers about the tracking devices? […]
Current GPS tracking systems allow for a remarkable degree of surveillance. Many are Internet-enabled and allow anybody to log onto the Web and in an instant see a vehicle’s current location or where it might have been in the past and when.