The previous owners of used "smart" cars can still control them via the cars' apps (not just cars!)


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/20/the-previous-owners-of-used.html


#2

unless you are very technologically savvy, you should only buy new cars, not used ones

WTF? That’s totally wrong. Only buy non-networked cars, not “smart” ones. Or more generally, do not buy ANY network-enabled device unless you can control its software.


#3

I agree, but it may come to pass that’s all you can buy, just like today you can’t buy a car without airbags. If your car is going to be smart, wouldn’t it be good to give it some security?


#4

Luckily for me, the state-of-the-art software on my state-of-the-art vehicles is so incredibly terribly bad that it doesn’t really do anything reliably.

Seriously, it’s like the stuff was coded by 12 year olds, and car apps (other than OBDC interfaces) have a shelf life of about two years before they stop working due to routine updating of the app platform not being tracked by the auto vendor.


#5

And only use websites with Free JavaScript!


#6

As a general rule, the more impractical RMS’ advice is the more chillingly prescient it will turn out to be.


#7

““The explanation we were given was fear of user error,” he said. “But a pin system for reset or an authentication-required reset system would be my suggestion.””

The car makers are quite correct. The typical end-user has the brain of a bran muffin about this stuff.

People will no more remember some PIN they set five years ago then they will remember the PIN they set five hours ago or where they put the car keys five minutes ago, just look at any online “Help” for devices that have a PIN.

I don’t know what the answer is but expecting the average car owner to do anything technical isn’t it.


#8

companies were concerned about people not being able to do it properly.

Dear companies,
This is my bill of sale.
These are my ownership papers.
This is my finger.


#9

Dear consumer,

Software licensed not sold; EULA; mandatory binding arbitration conducted by our house counsel’s best golf buddy in whatever jurisdiction is least convenient to you.

Have a nice day!


#10

As pointed out by someone else on here, companies do not sell you the right to own software. Which the car’s brains falls under, the only way one could circumvent this would be to gut out the car’s electronics and replace it with some 3rd party one or an open source variant, which at this point in history is not something that’s being done for cars. Not sure it’s currently legal to do so but i’d like to see things head in this direction, clearly we can’t trust car makers and their walled gardens.


#11

From a certain perspective, this is a feature instead of a bug.


#12

We’re going back to the '50’s and '60’s when most people bought a car every two years or so. I guess car makers really pine for those times . . .


#13

Huh? So why not give the user the facility, let them mess up (those that will; those of us that won’t will welcome the facility) and then charge users through the nose to fix the high volume of mess-ups. Unusual for large corporate multi-nationals to not spot a sure-fire revenue stream.


#15

Seems like that could be fixed just by having some kind of ‘transfer’ protocol, where the seller officially transfers ‘owner’ permissions to the buyer (by entering the buyer’s id in the app and verifying the confirmation code sent to the buyer or something), after which the buyer could do a full reset and change the lock codes.

Too bad humans haven’t invented a way to transfer ownership of property yet.


#16

I think this is like the classic “Trying to re-program or change the time on your VCR”. It’s not exactly difficult, but it’s often far from obvious or user friendly.

Having someone not super tech-savvy change settings on a car’s dash, or anything a bit more involved people give up as soon as they hit a roadblock.

I consider myself pretty good with technology and for the life of me i have not been able to pair my cellphone to my parent’s bluetooth to play music on trips. And i read the manual which was very very unhelpful.


#17

Indeed. So the dealers could charge for services to change/reset settings, etc. Or not, but still get their customers into the dealership (any excuse). I still reckon it’s a missed opportunity for a group of people not usually shy about any opportunity to chisel a bit more money out of their clientele. (After all it is easy enough to drive your car to the dealer, unlike your VCR!)


#18

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