FORT MYERS, Fla. Teresa Araque can keep track of her daughter’s driving habits even when she’s nowhere near home.
Her 17-year-old daughter, Emma, is a high school junior who takes classes at Florida SouthWestern State College’s Collier Campus.
“Working in Fort Myers and my daughter in South Naples, I’m more than an hour away from her most of the time,” Araque said.
Such is why Araque purchased “The Hum,” two devices that track her daughter’s driving and vehicle condition.
“If something happens, someone hits her car, she gets a flat tire, then I know she has emergency notification either for a tow truck, for 911 and also to me,” she said.
Alerts can be set if the vehicle exceeds a certain speed or leaves any pre-set boundaries.
“It also gives me a safety score so basically it will judge my acceleration, speeding, cornering and braking throughout my drive to see how safe I drive,” Emma said.
Similar devices are also used to determine insurance rates, said Lynne McChristian with the Insurance Information Institute.
“The more data that matches that how you drive as an individual, the more data that company has, the better they can price insurance specifically for you,” she said.
Progressive customers, on average, save $150 a year using similar devices, the company said.
While Teresa Araque appreciates any savings, she said her sense of security, and the safety of her children, are more valuable.
For Emma, she like having peace of mind when she drives.
“It does give me a bit of sense of security knowing that I can be alert, but if something bad were to happen, I’d be backed up,” she said.
Greg Scasny, who fights cyber attacks as Lead Security Consultant and CEO of Naples-based
Cybersecurity Defense Solutions, has a different view.
“These devices plug into what they call the onboard diagnostic port of your car,” Scasny said. “And then on the other side, they connect that to the internet.”
Meaning anything that goes on in your car, hackers can get.
“Car diagnostic data, navigation data, recordings, what radio station you’re tuned into,” Scasny said.
Hackers can even run cars off the road, though the chances of that are slim, Scasny said.
“You’ve got to think of your information, your personal information almost like currency,” Scasny said. “So is the personal information and privacy that I’m giving up worth the exchange that I’m getting back from whatever device I’m using?”
Araque is willing to accept the risk of the two devices that track her daughter’s car.
“This is pretty innocuous in my opinion,” she said. “You register just like you would anything else. And it does have protection and everything on it.”