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Spies and Lies

As you know, the government recently sponsored a “Cash for Clunkers” car buy-back program where people could turn in their old cars for money. I don’t know how this really differed from anyone wishing to sell, or trade-in, their older vehicle at a dealership, since such an option exists, and is encouraged, at virtually all dealerships, whether undertaken at a new car dealership or via a used-car dealership.

Older cars are based on manually operating mechanical systems, where newer cars rely more heavily on electronic-assisted, computer-based systems. The newer car models also have GPS location-recognizing devices installed, which can remotely track your vehicle, pinpointing the places where you have been and the places you are traveling to. Additionally, systems such as On-Star, included in many newer model vehicles, provide live two-way communication between the vehicle’s occupants and an outside source. Whether the system is enabled or not, doesn’t really matter — once it is installed in the vehicle, it can still track your location.

These computer-based systems have been recently shown to be hackable, where outside operators can take control of the vehicle’s driving systems: they can remotely steer your vehicle, brake your vehicle, and control the other functions inside your vehicle.

A two-way communication device also allows someone at the other end to access your private conversations taking place within your vehicle. The same holds true for home monitoring devices, such as baby monitoring intercoms, or medical alert devices, whether wall-mounted inside the home or worn around the wearer’s body. The baby monitoring devices use a wireless system which allows anyone nearby, even if outside the home, to track and find the frequency the system is operating on to allow them to hack into, or onto, the system. This recently happened to the infant of a man who was receiving verbal messages from a disturbed man communicating vulgarly to the baby in his room via the device. This can happen with any individual wireless device, or even a more elaborate system utilizing a wireless router, whether the device is your phone, a laptop computer, your home-based computer, an entertainment hub, or any electronic, wireless system.

I often wonder whether the “Cash for Clunkers” program was an intentional ploy used by the government to get the old, non-trackable, non-traceable cars off the street and to replace them with newer models which are entirely capable of being placed under remote control and monitoring. What with all the other tracking capabilities of the government, such as video cameras placed at intersections to discover your whereabouts and to track your constant location (oh, and to generate additional income as a red-light-runner detector), it would be not too difficult a stretch to imagine.

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