You’re in Good Hands with Auto Insurance Surveillance (Yeah, Right!)

Imagine if your insurance company knew immediately every time you drove faster than any speed limit, anywhere. Or that you failed to come to a complete dead stop at every stop sign before proceeding regardless of the need to come to a complete dead stop.

Your insurance company also knew that you drove eight hours straight to visit friends in another state last weekend. Last Thursday, you “accelerated your car aggressively” while trying to merge with traffic. You also turned off the traction control just the other day and squealed your tires. Oops!

And now comes the bill, custom-tailored just for you.

Insurance companies salivate for this kind of control and more cash coming from all their drivers.

Even Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has plans to get into the auto insurance business—a logical thing since car insurance is the original mandated business that set a precedent for the rest of them. Auto insurance is an even better business than the electric car business because everyone has to buy car insurance if they own a car, and even if it’s not an electric car.

Elon’s got a new take on the insurance business, too—or rather, a new way to take.

He wants to base premiums, not on your record—of accidents and claims—but on data about your driving, mined in real-time as you drive. Which, just by happy coincidence, his cars are fully equipped to provide.

“The data is there,” said Matthew Edmonds, Tesla’s Head of Insurance. “It’s all there; cameras in and all around your car; all of the data points are there.”

Tesla’s not able to monetize all this driving data just yet but wait for it.

“It really comes down to case law and how much of the data we can utilize,” says Edmonds. “Utilize” is italicized to emphasize the fact that the data acquisition is already fact regardless of “case law.”

So it’s a simple legal matter of getting the laws changed.

How difficult will this be, do you suppose?

Recently, owners have discovered that their cars aren’t just plugged in to wall sockets; they are also plugged in to Tesla.

Their cars are like two-way radios that are always on. Tesla sends “updates”—including “updates” that arbitrarily alter the range of the car, without the “owner’s” consent or even knowledge; that is until he or she looks at the dashboard and discovers that their car now only goes 180 miles on a full charge rather than 220 as indicated from the day before.

Tesla could and has reduced the range of cars under its control to zero. This is while an “app” updated. But the point should be taken, that Tesla has the power to prevent any owner from driving at all.

For any reason.

Think about this a bit.

What if you offend Tesla or another Big Tech Panopticon or any of the auto insurance behemoths? Can there be any doubt in anyone’s mind that the same company who summarily “de-platform” and “de-monetize” people whose views transgress the orthodoxies of our era will refrain from using the same power to de-wheel people?

Teslas are currently the most “connected” cars on the road but not the only “connected” cars on the road. Every new car has some degree of connected tech baked into it.

Why do you suppose that 5G Connectedness and the Internet of Things are being hurriedly erected?

All insurance “families” are waiting for the same thing Tesla wants. Right now, you can still opt out of being monitored by your insurance company and then dunned as you drive, but how long do you suppose this will last?

Resistance will be futile. Or at least, driving will be—any driving you might want to do yourself, that is.

Tesla’s Musk claims that real-time data streaming about people’s driving will result in “safe drivers” getting a break on insurance costs. This will require, of course, complete obedience to every traffic law, no matter how absurd.

If it’s an illegal action, it’s chargeable—in the monetary rather than electric sense.

All cars will drive at the same “safe” (slow) pace, creeping along in formation. The least common denominator will be the measure and applied equally, to all.

For a teeth-aching preview of what this would be like—the next time you go for a drive, obey every traffic law to the letter.

  • Accelerate and brake “gently.”
  • Pass no one unless you can manage it without exceeding whatever the posted speed limit is.
  • Stop fully and wait for a three second count at every stop sign before proceeding, regardless of the absence of other cars in the vicinity.

This will, of course, encourage people to give up driving and let the Autopilot (programmed by others) take over.

This is exactly what the long-term goal is, of course: To end driving altogether by making it either an insufferable bore or impossibly expensive, by dunning every instance of “unsafe” driving.

The pieces are all coming together.

It’s a shame people can’t see it. Or maybe it’s worse. They do see it and just don’t care anymore.


Photo attribution: AJ LEON licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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