A little paranoia now and again is a beautiful thing.
I’ve had the great honor of working in-house at a major security company. I’ve also had the good fortune of having security clients and what I’ve learned will forever resonate. There is something quite powerful about working alongside former FBI and CIA encryption experts, white hats and black hats. Clearly, the security point-of-view teaches you to look through the technology lens with a little paranoia. Specifically, while you’re looking through the lens, who or what is looking back?
OnStar is a great example. By way of background:
OnStar is an always-on General Motors-owned GPS system that continually provides a vehicle’s longitude and latitude to a central location staffed with call center personnel. For most vehicles, OnStar is enabled 24/7 providing constant vehicle tracking. OnStar also has a “Remote Ignition Block” feature allowing the company to remotely deactivate the ignition, so when the vehicle is shut off, it cannot be restarted. If a car is stolen, the “Remote Ignition Block” feature is a beautiful thing.
Most of us have listened to OnStar radio advertisements that within 30 seconds take us from a “that could be me” to “happily ever after” all while drawing on our emotions. One particular advertisement resonates with me; it’s the one with a lady panicking because she locked her keys inside her car with the baby screaming in the background. Yes, it is OnStar to the rescue as they unlock the car remotely, the woman calms down and the crying ceases.
Great. Right? Well, yes and no. Let’s ask a few questions here:
- What if this mobile technology falls into the wrong hands either intentionally or unintentionally?
- What if legislation provides an open door to past and present data mining of your OnStar equipped vehicle habits?
- Do you really want a company with staff you haven’t met to be able to unlock your car 24/7?
- With OnStar, the company knows when a vehicle isn’t at your home – is this OK with you?
- What if there is a glitch and “Remote Ignition Block” is activated?
- What if you leave a car full of holiday gifts or other valuable cargo and it can be unlocked and easily stolen?
In the wrong hands, the impact could be devastating and far-reaching.
Face it, we all love our mobile technology and GPS enabled devices. These technologies unequivocally provide great contributions for society and today’s nomadic lifestyle.
Let’s never lose sight that there are two sides to every story, and technology.
A little bit more about me: I am loyal to any brand as long as it works. My beliefs are 1) technology is life altering 2) the opposite of social media engagement is anti-social behavior and 3) there is no substitute for eye contact. When not steeped in client work I can be found enjoying the companionship of equine and canine friends, whose honesty and simplistic needs will forever keep me grounded in reality.