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Find My Child: OnStar Family Link, Hyundai Blue Link, Ford MyKey Raise Privacy Concerns?


Hyundai Blue Link - Geo Fence

Hyundai Blue Link - Geo Fence

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Parents may value the ability to locate their teenage son or daughter who’s driving the family (or parent-purchased car) and is either out late, straying from family-imposed boundaries, or exceeding the posted speed limit—maybe all of these.

Automakers offer such technology, and the systems involved, include OnStar Family Link from GM, Hyundai Blue Link, and Ford MyKey, just to name a few. Each system is somewhat different and some allow parents to ping the vehicle to determine its location, send alerts when the vehicle goes outside boundaries or exceeds a certain speed, even to block incoming calls and texts.

With Hyundai Blue Link, Geo-Fence, Curfew Alert and Speed Alert are part of the second-tier Essentials Package and send parents an alert via email, text message or automated phone message whenever the vehicle strays beyond defined geographic parameters, goes over a set speed limit, or is past-due for curfew. Blue Link is available on every Hyundai vahicle.

Ford MyKey Message Center-- System Active

Ford MyKey Message Center-- System Active

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Ford’s MyKey enables parents to limit top speed, deactivate the audio system unless all front passengers are buckled up, limit audio volume, block adult-content satellite radio and, effective with the 2012 Ford Explorer, to block incoming calls and text messages to the teen driver’s cell phone. Once the transponder-equipped key has been programmed, the system remembers the specific limitations and settings for that key every time it is inserted into the ignition.

OnStar Family Link

OnStar Family Link

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With the OnStar Family Link, parents can do a vehicle locate, and set up a vehicle location alert, with parents choosing the day, time and frequency of the alerts.

Chrysler Mopar EVTS operations center

Chrysler Mopar EVTS operations center

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Chrysler Group offers Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS), a dealer-installed Mopar accessory that can be installed on all new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, SRT and Fiat vehicles as well as non-Chrysler Group products. With EVTS, parents can opt for a Silver plan which includes security fencing that sends an alert when teen drivers go outside set boundaries or exceed pre-set speed limit levels. Parents also have the ability to trace where the vehicle has gone.

But the technology that permits parents to find their child and/or impose other driving limits designed to encourage safe driving behavior may also prove to be more than just a little intrusive to their children. At what point will there be a backlash, either by organizations concerned with individual civil liberties or the teen drivers themselves?

While these systems are opt-in at this point, the question becomes: does the teen driver deserve privacy? In many cases, unless the parent discloses their monitoring their child’s whereabouts and other driving behaviors, the teens don’t have a clue they’re being snooped on.

What do you think? Do these systems violate the privacy of teen drivers or do parents have the right to not only “peer” into their son or daughter’s behavior behind the wheel and impose such restrictions and limitations? Let us know in the comments section below.

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