👀 Your car is tracking you
May 8, 2023
In partnership with SimpliSafe
Happy Monday! Let’s start with the trivia. Brandon Sanderson is a fantasy and science fiction writer. His 2022 Kickstarter campaign for four new novels raised how much in millions? $1.2, $10.7, $20.8 or $42 million? Answer’s at the end. Makes me wish I picked that genre over tech!
Time to get your week started with tech nuggets you can use right away. Buckle up, here we go! — Kim
IN THIS ISSUE
TODAY’S TOP STORY
Privacy? Not if your car has a say
Your new car is a computer on wheels with over 1,400 microchips. This is how you get heated seats, tire pressure warnings, active noise cancellation so you don’t hear the engine and more fancy features.
Guess what? Your chip-heavy car collects a lot of data about you. Think of your new car like your phone, laptop or tablet — it’s always listening and tracking.
I like to keep you on the forefront and couldn’t wait to tell you about this new online tool. You plug in your car’s VIN and get a tracking report back — for free.
Get your Vehicle Privacy Report
Privacy4Cars has a unique niche in the marketplace. They delete synched personal data from used cars before they’re resold. This is how carmakers cover their butts and how Privacy4Cars makes money.
Fortunately, there is a way you can tap into their work. Just plug in your car’s VIN at a special site and get all the privacy policies from the auto company that built it.
😲 Prepare to be shocked. Here’s what you’ll find:
The tool also lists who your information is shared with — think insurance companies, the government and data brokers.
TL;DR: If you use GPS, ask for directions or make calls via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, your car probably has much more dirt on you.
We tested it
One of our great team members drives a Kia. Vehicle Privacy Report spit back a complete rundown on the car. Get this: Kia is known to use the information it collects to predict your “preferences, characteristics, predispositions, behavior, attitudes or similar behavioral information.” Creepy much?
The Korean carmaker also shares and sells that info to its parent companies, subsidiaries and sister companies — along with service providers (analytics partners, advertising agencies and social networks).
Oh, they’ll also share your information at the government’s request. You can delete all that data from your car. There’s an app for that.
✅ What secrets is your car spilling? Find out right now. Head to vehicleprivacyreport.com.
👉 Be sure to share this story using the logos below with your family and friends. It’s important tech know-how a lot of people don’t have a clue about.
DEAL OF THE DAY
Smarter search: Finding a specific photo is hard when you have thousands or more on your phone. Try Google Photos’ new search tool. Open Google Photos and instead of searching for “dog,” try “brown dog on beach” to see Fido on your vacation. Bummer it only works on the web, not in the app yet.
In a popularity contest: Chrome wins as the top-used browser, in use on 64.8% of devices. Safari (the Apple default) just snuck into second place at 11.9% of the market. It beat out Edge, which held that spot for much of 2022. Microsoft’s browser is down to 11%. Removing its cutting-edge technology.
Beats an Uber: Air taxis are coming. The FAA just put together the much-needed blueprint for adding lower-altitude flight paths from some of the country’s biggest airports to downtown areas. They’ll start out using helicopter paths. You have to see this.
You asked, I delivered: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called the front desk at a hotel and they say, “How can I help you, Mr. Komando?” Yeah, I have a deep voice, but many say it’s soothing. Now, you can take me with you on a road trip. Here’s how to use my voice as your Waze GPS. You won’t have any treble setting it up.
Use TurboTax to file? You might be owed up to $85 as part of a 50-state class action settlement. About 4.4 million Intuit customers were allegedly tricked into paying for free services. That’s you if you used TurobTax in 2016, 2017 or 2018 tax years and were eligible for free filing. Get your cut here.
Dead meat: Candace Scott (a mortuary worker) made $11,000 selling over 20 boxes of brains, hearts, lungs, skin and ahem, other stolen body parts … to Jeremy Pauley in Pennsylvania who she met on Facebook. First Facebook message Scott sent: “Just out of curiosity, would you know anyone in the market for a fully intact, embalmed brain?” Pauley said, “Yeah, me.” They’re both in jail.
🎧 Want great content on the go?
Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not one. Try my award-winning, daily podcast. Search for my last name with “K” wherever you get your podcasts and “Go Komando!”
Put down your phone
Take a guess. Which country’s residents are most addicted to their phones? If you said the U.S. … you’re wrong.
The most serious screen addicts are South Africans, who spend 9.5 hours staring at their phones and computers. The Japanese are at the other end of the spectrum, with under 4 hours of screen time per day.
Americans fall somewhere above the middle at 7.5 hours, almost 43% of our waking hours. A good chunk of our screen time is spent on phones (21% of our day).
For context, the average person is awake for 17 hours per day and spends over 6.5 hours on a screen.
Health experts say we should limit screen time to 2 hours or less per day, not counting work or schoolwork. How much time do you spend doom-scrolling and browsing social media?
Take a deep breath and go look now.
✅ Can’t put your phone down? Here are tips to cut back on your screen time.
Run a free online background check
I was on WLS 890 AM Chicago with John Howell the other day. Off the air, I said that I could show him how to find his home address and cell phone number for free on the web. Yep, it took about a minute.
Your online business is everyone’s business, like it or not. How can you check what the internet’s got on you?
🤫 You definitely need to check out our complete list of people search sites with the exact steps to remove your personal info!
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BY THE NUMBERS
The percentage of Gen Z and Millenials who spend more time on social media than in the real world. A study also shows half the people in this age group would rather watch an “influencer” dance to the sound of their washing machine than attend a live concert. Talk about a meme come true.
The number of days new government tech can detect sickness before symptoms occur. The Department of Defense says its algorithms use Garmin Watches and Oura rings to tell if a service person is sick before they feel a thing, stopping infections from spreading. Incredible.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s salary for 2022. After Google laid off 12,000 employees, Alphabet reported the CEO’s pay ratio to the average employee’s pay is 808:1. This could spell disaster.
WHAT THE TECH?
This is the Big Alarm Clock conspiracy. Wake up, folks.
UNTIL NEXT TIME …
📚 The answer: On Kickstarter, Brandon Sanderson got 185,341 backers who pledged $41,754,153 so he could come out with four novels. Our Amazing Content Queen Allie loves his work. Reminds me of … the book called “Don’t Fall Off the Cliff” by Illene Dover.
Phew, that was a jam-packed newsletter, eh? Now, do me a solid and tell three folks to get my free newsletter too. Post on your social media and recommend they sign up at www.GetKim.com. Thank you so much! Every reader counts! — Kim
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