Electric Cars With Digital Rights Management (DRM) Built into the Batteries

#Future

Fri, Nov 15th, 2013 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Free Software activist and analyst Karsten Gerloff reports on the decision by French car manufacturer Renault to force users purchasing the electric Zoe to rent, rather than owning, the battery that comes with the car. Reportedly, "the contract contains a clause giving Renault the right to prevent your battery from charging at the end of the rental period. According to an article in Der Spiegel, the company may also do this when you fall behind on paying the rent for the battery."

If there is a mechanism to remotely control what your car does, some will make use of this mechanism at some point. This could be the manufacturer, shutting down your car as you fall behind on the battery rent because you just lost your job, meaning that it becomes harder for you to find work. It could be the government, compelling the manufacturer to do its bidding. In his forum post, Franko30 predicts that at some point, governments may simply ask car manufacturers to block charging near controversial political events (e.g. a G8 summit), in order to prevent you from participating in demonstrations. Or it could be any random criminal out there, gaining access to this mechanism by bribing a Renault employee.

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