OnStar To Warn, Then Stop, Stolen Cars

from the wait-until-someone-hacks-the-system dept

GM continues to expand the features of its popular OnStar system with a new service that's been talked about for years, that would allow the company to automatically stop a stolen car remotely. The last time we spoke about such a concept, it was four years ago -- and there were a lot of people worried about the idea. However, that may have been because it was the police asking for the right to stop cars remotely, rather than an individual using a private service (and they were also interested in using it to control speeders). In this case, the service would first alert the car thief that it's known they're driving a stolen car (and potentially that the police are on their way), and that OnStar is about to stop the automobile. It would then slowly halt the car -- though the driver could stop the car themselves at any time. The police apparently are excited about the possibility of this ending some high speed chases (and certainly making it easier to retrieve the car), but you have to wonder what happens if the service is hacked or malfunctioned.

Filed Under: stolen cars, tracking
Companies: gm, lojack, onstar

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  1. identicon
    Trerro, 9 Oct 2007 @ 4:35pm

    It's a useful security feature, and as long as it remains purely a business relationship between Onstar and the driver, where the car can only be shut down with express permission from its owner, I don't see an issue here.

    It's true that someone who can steal a modern car without having the key isn't going to be hindered by Onstar, but I'm pretty sure a lot more car thefts fall under either the 'guy gets jacked while he leaves the keys in the ignition and picks up a pizza' or the 'someone pulls a gun and demands the key' than the 'intelligent thief figures out exactly how the car's computer for your exact model works and hacks it well enough to get it to start, all fast enough to not be noticed by anyone in the area.'

    It may not be the best security device in the world, but has value with no real downside (other than cost - but the consumer decides if it's worth the money or not), so why not?

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