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The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

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It's not so much the Internet of Things you have to be worried about...

It's more the Internet of money grubbing a$$holes !

Just imagine your health-insurance company refusing to pay for your

heart-surgery after having suffered a heart-attack just because your

'Fitbit activity tracker' says you're a fat lazy bastard who should have

gotten off your lazy ass more often !

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Re: It's not so much the Internet of Things you have to be worried about...

I think it may hit even before then.

Sorry we can't sell you insurance as there is not enough data available.

If you don't have an activity tracker(s) you will be in the same class as people who have already had a heart attack and smashed their last three cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not so much the Internet of Things you have to be worried about...

corporate power is in the driver's seat in the US at the moment,

Actually insurance companies are in the driver's seat. Just check out how much Barack Obama protected the insurance companies during the BP oil spill and hurricane Sandy. And Obamacare, which rocketed insurance rates sky high and cancelled millions of insurance policies without even a blink from B.O. I should know, my family got screwed by the insurance companies from Sandy and Obamacare.

Must have something to do with B.O.'s Cayman Island bank account and investment trusts - DOH!

And don't forget B.O.'s $16 million in Wall Street campaign contributions, more Wall Street money than the past five president's combined.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not so much the Internet of Things you have to be worried about...

Obamacare raising rates? Uh, no...

In my case — small sample, of course — Obamacare reduced my insurance rate by a factor of four. The insurance companies no longer have me by the short hairs because I have a "preexisting condition" (being older than the average Joe, with the depredations that come with too many trips 'round ol' Sol).

Talking with my doctor, by the way, he tells me that the majority of his patients are getting quite a better deal under Obamacare then under the private, paid-for-by-themselves plans they previously had.

Oh, in the Cayman Islands bank account crapola? Been reading a lot of World Net Daily recently, bub?

Finally, your crack about Wall Street money going to Obama caused my fine Dogfish Head Noble Rot Saison to come shooting out of my schnozzola. Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is one 10th as firmly in the pocket of the Wall Street moneymen than is the Republican Party ... well, you need to enroll in a remedial course on Basic American Corruption, my good man.

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Unhappy

What a miserable life our children are going to have.

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Megaphone

@Will Godfrey -- Are you kidding?!?

Our children are the cause of this. You don't see many Boomers willing to forgo all of their privacy for the promise of a coupon, or 5%off something should they use this plastic sometime during the month, or for a chance to win some oh-so-k3wl shiny in a "drawing" or for filling out a "survey". No, that's the provenance of the Gen-X'ers and, of course, the Millennials, who cannot live without their shinies connected 24/7, happily drooling all manner of personal information about themselves over myriad websites designed specifically (and surreptitiously) to harvest just such information, and who, no matter what you try to tell them, still don't understand that they are not customers, they are product.

Either through ignorance or apathy (that is an inclusive 'or', BTW), these are the folks who are enabling the slurpers. The "miserable life" they get will be the result of lying in the bed they made. The only problem is the collateral damage inflicted on everybody else (including the post-Millenials...their children).

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Re: @Will Godfrey -- Are you kidding?!?

You 're right. I'm a Gen-Xer who has been warning my contemporaries about this and Facebook, Google, etc for years. You'd think, as I'm the only one most of them know in the software industry, that they might take some notice. But no. I'm usually dismissed as either paranoid or a dinosaur. Where's the weary resignation icon?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Will Godfrey -- Are you kidding?!?

Kids today are like the south seas natives when the British turned up with trinkets, they gave up their valubles, their health and lives for junk. The same is happening now, it seems we never learn.

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Re: @Will Godfrey -- Are you kidding?!?

I take all your points. However, initially I was going to say 'descendants' but thought that wouldn't highlight the immediacy of the problem. Also, whatever the rights & wrongs of an individual generation's actions it's still going to be a miserable time ahead.

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"What a miserable life our children are going to have."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why I've refused to have kids. I saw this sort of thing coming years ago, so it comes as no surprise. I've copped all sorts of flack throughout my life from family, friends and internet contacts alike for this decision, so when I see someone else say something like that I feel that it vindicates my choice.

The future is a horror. I'm just glad no progeny of mine will be slaves to it.

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While you may have supportable reasons for your decision, I took the opposite tack: I raised a couple of kids and taught them to kick the shit out of the future — somebody's got to do it.

We'll see if they and their contemporaries can pull it off.

Despair = cowardice.

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I hope you're right Rik, I really do, and that your kids can find a way to sort the future out for everyone.

I do have other valid reasons for my choices, although this isn't the place to go into them. But suffice to say, the line between despair and realism is a very fine one, as is the line between cowardice and pragmatism.

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Re: kicking the shit out of the future

Raising my daughter to do the same.

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Anonymous Coward

You are spot on...

The internet of things is evil incarnate as is insurance. (Legalized gambling) Use of an ODB dongle to determine your "driving habits" needs to be made illegal asap as there is no way any machine can understand why you braked hard or accelerated quickly. You could also create various ways to fool such a unit. I'm sure the T's and C's make you sign your legal rights away. Here in the USA (up until the Obama admin) you have (had) a right to interrogate your accuser in a court of law, a right against self incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure and several other basic and inalienable rights that these devices ALL violate.

Don't buy into this fad!!!!!! You will regret it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You are spot on...

^ OBD dongle

(FTFY)

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Big Brother

I love the smell of bovine scatology in the morning

> "When you use the device and incorporate other healthy habits, you'll earn a variety of rewards and discounts," the Active Track program promises.

What an utter load of wank! I will bet anyone a night of drinks that the current prices will be the new baseline and our "reward" will be not having additional fines and surcharges tacked on.

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you're not going to be able to remove all the sensors in your new Ford C-MAX Hybrid Energi.

Ah, but I don't need to. I only need to neuter it's ability to make like ET. That is to say it has to communicate this data somehow and it won't be long before the local garage finds he has two kinds of customers. There will be the ones who don't care what happens to the data and ones who do and will likely be willing to pay call it a $35 fee for cutting the comms link and disabling the "black box".

Hell, you can get devices to reprogram car chips for better performance now, how hard could it be to set another few bits to 0? So ok, maybe we'll have to first jailbreak our cars but I'm not aware of any other device where that has proven to be an unsolvable problem.

It will likely be something like: "You turn the key to 'On', then 'Off', back to 'On' then 'Acc'. Then, within 5 seconds, simultaneously press and hold radio button 5 and the unlock button on the fob until you hear three quick door ajar chimes indicating the system is unlocked."

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If mobile devices were the size of a breadbox, or larger, there wouldn't be nearly as much difficulty screwing about inside them. It's one thing to identify a sensor you might not want working anymore, or working selectively, but making that happen can be a challenge for the home tinkerer.

But a vehicle, shit. If you've got a multimeter, a half decent set of tools and a sense of adventure that thing is yours to do with as you please. Cars that are turned off and not in motion aren't complex, they are designed to be serviced and they are adaptable for users with special requirements. Until those things change cars can be reliably, undetectably, screwed with by anyone with the desire to do so.

I predict a huge performance improvement in passenger automobiles with speeds exceeding the speed of sound and 5G turns in parking lots.

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Vic
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But a vehicle, shit. If you've got a multimeter, a half decent set of tools and a sense of adventure that thing is yours to do with as you please.

Those days are long gone.

My missus used to have a new Mini. She had a (standard) set of fog lights fitted - the car had to go back to BMW to have them enabled...

Vic.

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Reprogram the devices so that they tell lies about your habits.

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Anonymous Coward

"Reprogram the devices so that they tell lies about your habits."

Endless entertainment for all the family. Of course the flip side is tech-savvy people who don't like you reprogramming your devices to tell lies about your habits. Congratulations to the insurance companies though; in that short period before people realise they've essentially found a way to deny any claim at will (and then burn down their offices and lynch their staff), they will have found a way to make money for nothing.

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Disabling such a system should be close to trivial, yes ... but I'd bet the majority of motor insurance policies *already* include a clause to the effect of, "Insurer may at its discretion declare this policy void if a peace officer ascertains that sensors, telemetry equipment or any other mechanism that would assist a peace officer investigate an incident involving insured vehicle(s) has been deliberately disabled, removed, or otherwise tampered-with or defeated."

A transparent solution would likely be more involved ...

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Those days are long gone.

You can't just cut the wire on the sensor as it's needed for the black box to manage the engine moment to moment. The problem is the black box recording and transmitting info that is no longer needed by the car to be used as spy data.

Right now you can plug a box into your car so the insurance company can spy on you for a discount. How long before car companies build it in and charge the insurance companies a fee to access the data?

Cut the link? The data connection will be required for warranty, and be used for other stuff like live traffic data for the built in GPS, as well as things like map updates.

Root the back box?

How many people root their phones, almost no one will root there car, if it costs car companies money it will be banned.

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Since when did cops start investigating accidents again? Last year a friend was rear ended on CA 60 which totaled his car. When he called the police they asked if anyone was hurt, he said no and their reply was to exchange information and call a tow truck along with a reminder he had to fill out an accident report within some number of days. They were emphatic that they don't send an officer unless someone is injured.

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Anonymous Coward

Taking the bus will not help

As you now have to pay for it with a contactless smartcard ya know...

Resistance is futile, you shall be observed, analyzed and monetized.

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Re: Taking the bus will not help

Don't forget about the bus' video camera(s).

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Fitbit future.

You get home after a long and tiring day in your quantified cubicle/workshop/factory, climb out of your quantified car and enter your quantified home where you put down the quantified phone that keeps tabs on you when not actually at your work station.

Having reached your home you go for a relaxing bath discarding on the way your quantified suit/overalls, you run the bath, gratefully climb into it and DROWN YOUR SELF.

Except for the fact that the bloody bath is connected and it won't let you.

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Re: Fitbit future.

Every few minutes the old man kept repeating:

'We didn't ought to 'ave trusted 'em. I said so, Ma, didn't I? That's what comes of

trusting 'em. I said so all along. We didn't ought to 'ave trusted the buggers.

But which buggers they didn't ought to have trusted Winston could not now remember.

1984

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This is not "coming soon" this is "already in the market"

There have been ads on TV for months to (maybe) get a discount on your car insurance if you hook up the device that profiles your driving: http://dgidirect.ca/auto-insurance/ajusto/

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As has been pointed out by others

You can do what you will but the buggers will still get you.

I keep my IoT things on a separate VLAN/subnet away from stuff I really care about. I watch the traffic in and out and open ports etc accordingly to get maximum function for minimum exposure but frankly it's a losing battle for me.

Mine is not exactly your average setup and even though I can play with the more naiive devices via a transparent web proxy (rewrite content) it's only a matter of time before SSL/TLS is used properly by these buggers and there is not a lot I can do without some serious hacking.

Oh well at least I can keep *most of the outside - out.

Cheers

Jon

*most => not the really smart buggers who can get through a pfSense box with a lot of filtering enabled.

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Re: As has been pointed out by others

Why do you want those things in the first place?

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Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

Makes sense. For a "small fee" they will put the device on THEIR arm and be a nice healthy person. Then you take it back from them after the proper interval to get it read-out. What a healthy lifestyle you lead.

Of course, you might be able to put it on your dog as well, and after a day inthe park have all sorts of "healthy" data to report in.

There are ways around everything. Look how spammers pay $$$ for kits that will make their lives "easier". When there is a will, there is a way.

Now then, how do I make a "fitbit" simulator. Dial in the 'health" of the patient (0-100).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

"Of course, you might be able to put it on your dog as well, and after a day inthe park have all sorts of "healthy" data to report in."

Not doing that again, got arrested for shitting in bushes and having an unatural interest in poodles.

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Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

I must admit that my first thought about the personal monitor would be to strap one onto a stray cat or similar. Healthy outdoor lifestyle and bonus points.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

"I must admit that my first thought about the personal monitor would be to strap one onto a stray cat or similar. Healthy outdoor lifestyle and bonus points."

Mr moiety, we're sorry to bother you, but we're a tad concerned. You see, your heartrate average seems to range from 160-240 beats per minute...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

Think inside the box, like a Rapport watch winder. Cheaper models are available or you can get meccano off ebay. Could be a promising sideline for personal fitness trainers to create personalised fitbit profiles. As the old adage goes, if you can make it, you can fake it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

"Now then, how do I make a "fitbit" simulator. Dial in the 'health" of the patient (0-100)."

I'm quite certain you've just identified one of the growth industries of the future.

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Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

Based on the experience of putting a collar on our cat, she accepts it meekly and all is fine until she goes outdoors. Then she manages to remove it and we never see it again. We gave up after three lost collars.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Can one hire out "fitbit" people.

"Not doing that again, got arrested for shitting in bushes and having an unatural interest in poodles."

My wife thinks I've lost it and is about to ring up those nice young men in their clean white coats...

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I am so glad

that I am getting old and won't be around to see the glorious future. I feel sorry for my children, though.

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Re: I am so glad

I wish I was older, and I'm 47. Which means that 1) If I live as long as my grandparents did (all but one made it into their 90s) I have another 40ish years of life on this shithole planet to look forward to, and 2) What this world is going to be like in 20 years doesn't bear thinking about, let alone 40. I shudder to think of the soul-raping "innovations" people like O'Reilly and Smith in this article are going to foist on us in that time.

And even then I probably won't be allowed to die peacefully. Some horror like that depicted in this Youtube video will probably be in place by then and my life and my very memories will be hijacked to serve the greed or our corporate masters.

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Pint

Re: I am so glad

> Some horror like that depicted in this Youtube video will probably be in place by then

Dear $DEITY that was horrifying. It looks so depressingly plausible its not even funny. Certainly gives you a new perspective on the Buddhists' quest for Nirvana...

Icon? Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we will be quantized, monetized, incentivized, and advertised...

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Spelling and Grammer

"incentivize" on a supposedly English web page?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spelling and Grammer

According to who?

"Today The Register is headquartered in London, San Francisco and Sydney and the sun never sets on its reporting team around the world."

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Re: Re: Spelling and Grammer

...and the sun never sets on its reporting team around the world...

Er... that would be the BRITISH Empire, then...

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Headmaster

Re: Spelling and Grammer

according to WHOM...

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Re: Spelling and Grammer

That would be 'grammar', too.

The Queen's English allows use of 'ize', it's just not common.

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There have been lots of salient points provided above and most people here seem to feel much the same, so I'll just say what's on my mind:

Would you? Could you?

In a car?

Eat them! Eat them!

Here they are.

I would not, could not,

In a car.

You may like them.

You will see.

You may like them

In a tree!

I would not, could not in a tree.

Not in a car! You let me be.

I do not want to be fucking quantified Sam-I-Am.

Okay, yes, I am co-opting that fine story somewhat, given it is an allegory for being open-minded and trying new things but it's what popped into my head.

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Devil

A standard port you say...

So a standard port with a standard protocol.

I see a market for an in-line item that 'corrects' the data going to the spy box.

That can be removed if needed of course.

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