The kill-switch is something we’ve been reading about a lot recently, and it basically entails the ability to take away every functionality of a certain device remotely. A kill-switch has mostly been discussed in connection to automobiles and drivers, many arguing that if cars had kill-switches, accidents and thefts could be more easily avoided. For example, if your car is stolen, you can hit the kill-switch and the thief won’t be able to use it. Or if you are talking on the phone while driving, the car could detect that and automatically activate the kill-switch.
Nowadays, it’s not surprising that the first purpose of the kill-switch implemented will be for those who have bad credit history. Banks, huh? Reports are saying that future cars from different companies will have a kill-switch built in, so that if you (the buyer) fail to fulfill the car payments, the company you bought the car from will use the kill=-switch to turn your car useless.
Those who want to buy a car now have to have it outfitted with a starter interrupt device which can be remotely activated by the lender (if you borrow money to buy the car) and will act as a kill-switch, not letting you start your car until you have paid what you owed. What’s disconcerting about the kill-switch is that it comes with a GPS built-in, so the lender you borrowed money from can pinpoint your car’s location whenever it wants to.
Reports say that the kill-switch is already in about 30% of vehicles bought with auto loans in the U.S. The main concern for drivers, besides having their car switched off abruptly, is their privacy. According to drivers, the loaners who have outfitted your car with the kill-switch and GPS have unlimited access to your location and even keep tabs on you. That means that they are monitoring your schedule and actually become suspicious if you miss a workday. Some loaners also activate the kill-switch while you’re driving or are on the freeway, without notice, while others only do that if you’re car is safely in your driveway and they announce you before-hand. In emergencies, loaners give out passcodes which will allow you to use your car for 24 hours, but many say that the codes they get, don’t work.
We must ask, are loaners going too far or is it an acceptable measure for them to feel secure that the borrower will indeed pay back what they owe? The GPS and tracking loaners use next to the kill-switch are a serious privacy concern for most, and fairly so, since nobody likes 24/7 surveillance. On the other hand, the borrowers who have their cars fitted with the kill-switch system did agree to these measures, otherwise their bad credit record would have impeded them from buying a car in the first place.