Tag Archives: technology

Does Your Car Track Your Personal Information?

Privacy is a top concern of consumers. While on the one hand, we love it when companies can anticipate our needs and solve problems. However, on the other hand, we value our privacy and do not want to have our lives tracked by corporations. We realize that our online social media, shopping, and email communication can be tracked and we can act according to that knowledge. We still don’t want our privacy violated, but we understand the risk involved.

But… what about our cars? Huh, cars? Cars track our personal data? Yes. And not only do car manufacturers track a LOT of our personal data, they can also sell it – without our knowledge or permission.

As consumers, we expect companies to act in our interests when solving problems, but that is a common mistake. Corporations act in their best interest in the long run. Car buyers and drivers are given little or no control over all the personal data that cars track and collect. In addition, automotive security systems are also a concern when it comes to hacking.

Non-profit Mozilla Foundation researched 25 car brands to assess their security and data collection actions. None of the 25 car brands whose privacy notices were reviewed met even the minimum privacy standards. Furthermore, some automakers gather personal data not related to driving – including sexual activity, immigration status, race, facial expressions, weight, health, and genetic information. Additional data is gathered by sensors, microphones, cameras, and phones connected to cars.

What Mozilla found shouldn’t really surprise us. As car buyers, we don’t have many (if any) options as to the data the manufacturer can track about us when we’re in the car. Of the 25 brands, 19 of the companies’ privacy notices reviewed said they can sell our personal data. Half will share information in response to a “informal request” from government or law enforcement. Automakers were very vague about disclosing to whom they sell what data.

The worst three privacy violators cited by Mozilla were Tesla, Nissan, and Hyundai.

Who’s tracking you?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they know what data cars are gathering about them? And what the companies do with this data?
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/KJ2NmIhYIlA?si=tf993ioIl8xDyPHu
  3. Show the Mozilla report: https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/articles/its-official-cars-are-the-worst-product-category-we-have-ever-reviewed-for-privacy/
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an auto manufacturer and research the privacy statements made by the company.
  5. How does this present an opportunity for marketers?
  6. What could the company do to help protect the consumers’ privacy?

Source: Bajak, F. (11 September 2023). Analyst: Cars now ‘wiretaps on wheels.’ Associated Press.; Caltrider, J., Rykov, M., MacDonald, Z. (6 September 2023). It’s official: Cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy. Mozilla Foundation.

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Streamflation – Paying More for Streaming?

Have you heard the term “streamflation”? It’s a phrase being used to explain the increasing prices for entertainment streaming services.

On average, the cost of a major ad-free streaming service has increased by roughly 25% in the past year, with more increases to come. These increases account for the roughly $219 per month that consumers pay for subscriptions. That’s $2,628 per year!

Let’s take a quick look:

  • YouTube TV – in 2018 it cost $40; compared to 2023 at $73.
  • Netflix – in 2018 it cost $11; compared to 2023 at $15.49.
  • Disney+ – in 2019 it cost $7; compared to 2023 at $14.
  • ESPN+ – in 2018 it cost $5; compared to 2023 at $10.
  • Peacock – in 2018 it cost $5; compared to 2023 at $6.
  • Apple TV – in 2019 it cost $5; compared to 2023 at $7.

And don’t forget about music streaming such as Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music – all of which carry a monthly fee.

Some fees can be reduced if viewers are willing to accept advertising as part of the service. For example, Netflix has prices of $6.99 per month for ad-supported viewing, compared to $15.49 per month for ad-free viewing.

Why the steep increases? Because most streaming services have been losing money to the tune of millions, if not billions, of dollars. But can companies raise prices and expect customers to stay loyal?

What will you pay?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Pricing is a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  2. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  3. Poll students: What do they pay each month for streaming?
  4. Show video about streaming inflation: https://youtu.be/WNhkP9Q2gNs?si=18CUvNE8Oms-K46f
  5. Which pricing strategy is being used by streaming companies?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the prices being used by the various streaming companies (Disney+, Netflix, Apple, Hulu, etc.). Include both ad-free and ad-supported prices.
  7. Draw a table on the white board that lists the companies and their prices.

Source: Whelan, R., Flint, J., Rattner, N. (15 August 2023). Streamflation is here and media companies are betting you’ll pay up. Wall Street Journal.

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Pssst… Want a free TV?

Telly: “Who wants a free television?”  

Me: “Me! Oh, wait. Is it a teeny tiny screen? Must be small or a poor screen to make it free. And there must be a charge somewhere…”  

Telly: “No, it’s not teeny tiny. It’s a 55-inch 4K television! And it’s free!”  

Me: “Wow. Then me! I want a free TV!”

Telly: “Great. There’s just one catch though. You also have to install a separate second display underneath that constantly displays ads and other information. That means all the time.”  

Me: “Hmmm….I’ll think about it.”  

While the above isn’t an actual conversation, it could be. And yes, a company named Telly is giving away 500,000 units of a 55-inch 4K televisions with a second screen. The second screen is located beneath the large screen and can show advertising, sports scores, and stock quotes based on a survey of the viewer’s information and interests. Telly is also equipped with a soundbar that includes a microphone and motion-tracking camera, and voice assistant.  

Telly starts with a survey gathering personal information plus information about cellphone provider, home ownership, household income, vehicle ownership, children, pets, and more. This information is used for selecting targeted advertising to viewers.  

Telly also collects information about what you watch, search for, others in the room, plus locations, geo-positioning, and more personal data. The data-gathering is required in order to retain the TV as free. And, even if you are not watching TV it will display ads.  

More than 250,000 people across the U.S. signed up in the first week Telly was offered. The company plans to distribute 500,000 units by the end of the year.  

Do you still want that free TV?      

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show video about Telly: https://youtu.be/RsQ-RCe5YKA
  2. Show Telly website: https://www.freetelly.com/
  3. Also show Telly Terms of Service page: https://www.freetelly.com/terms-of-service
  4. Poll students: Who wants a Telly?
  5. What are the challenges Telly has to solve?
  6. Who is the target market for Telly?
  7. What is its appeal to consumers?
  8. What is its appeal to advertisers and companies?

Source: Fried, I. (17 May 2023). Telly’s free TV is latest take on ad-supported hardware. Axios.com.; Graham, M. (19 July 2023). A billboard for the living room? How Telly want advertisers to pay for your TV set. Wall Street Journal.

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