“Good drivers finally get the savings they deserve.” That’s how Progressive pitches Snapshot, its new optional device that goes inside your car to monitor how far you drive and how hard you brake, the idea being if you are a good driver, Progressive will use its remote watching to reduce your insurance rates.
It’s part of a trend of consumer tracking that can be both beneficial and freaky. Google (no April’s Fool joke) is working on a facial recognition mobile app that could use a photo of your mug to automatically link to your online profile, very useful at business conferences and extremely worrisome, say, to women who may not want men finding their home address after shooting their image at a bar. (Google, recognizing the privacy concerns and recently stung by its Buzz data debacle, is said to be making the app opt-in only at first.) The convergence of online personal profiles, ubiquitous cameras, location-based services, and algorithms that can convert images to data means consumer sharing may be everywhere … and consumer privacy may be a thing of the past.
Image: Iris Shreve Garrott