All he wanted was to disable a device in his car: An always-on, net-connected “helper” that provides the car’s driver with app connections, turn-by-turn navigation, and roadside assistance… at the expense of personal driving data. Similar devices track how fast you’re going, how hard you ride the brakes, even your final destination. And all that info gets sent back to the manufacturer. Scannell wanted out. Unfortunately, it was easier said than done.
You see, Scannell is a security guy. And, while Scannell thought these features of the Car-Net system in his new Volkswagen Golf were pretty neat, for him the system was a lot more than the “partner” that VW advertises. But he’s been in privacy for years. In fact, it’s literally his job — he’s an adviser for security start-ups. And he knows all too well how simple it is to hack into a system with an open internet connection. For him, Car-Net wasn’t a helper. It was an opening for companies to spy on him. For a hacker to take control over his steering wheel. To find himself in a potentially dangerous situation.