In an age of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and the revelation of just exactly how much the NSA knows about your cereal preferences, there’s little more that irks a great many people than the idea of somebody watching their every move.
For car enthusiasts, this can ring very true. Yes, there are many who love cars and drive them very carefully as a result. On the other hand, there are just as many who love their four-wheeled friends, and prove it by getting from A to B very quickly. For this particular branch, the comments of Jim Farley, Ford’s head of marketing and sales, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently, won’t have gone down too well.
“We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing,” he said, presumably while sitting down and arching an eyebrow, stroking a cat of some description.
Predictably, once the comments were made public in Business Insider, the backlash was swift and fierce, and Farley quickly backtracked. “I absolutely left the wrong impression about how Ford operates,” he tried to explain. “We do not track our customers in their cars without their approval or consent.” To which the internet nodded and replied “Sure you don’t.” It’s probably a safe bet to assume that most modern cars have a way of tracking where you are and how fast you’re going, but none of them have actually announced that to the world.
Possibly the data is held inside the car, waiting for driver approval to begin uploading your criminal doings to its American overlord, after which it is undoubtedly only a matter of time before you see flashing blue lights in your driveway. “But wait!” you exclaim. “Surely I can’t be brought to account for those 17 minor traffic infractions yesterday, considering I haven’t given my approval!”, before breathing a sigh of relief and putting the foot down once more. Don’t relax just yet, however. Your approval is probably buried somewhere in the middle of the terms and conditions. And we all know who reads those.