Could Your Rental Car Be Watching You?
Finding privacy can be a struggle at times for many travelers, but the addition of in-dash cameras in several vehicles available through Hertz Rent-a-Car has made people feel uncomfortable even when they’re by themselves.
According to Kashmir Hill of Fusion.net, the rental car company began installing a system called “NeverLost” last fall. Designed as an all-purpose navigation device, it also features a camera pointed at the driver.
In a separate report from CBSNews.com, Hertz released a statement claiming that the cameras are not functional right now due to the company not having the technology for in-car video conferences yet.
Hertz also went on to tell CBSNews.com that even when the cameras become operational, it would be at the discretion of the renter to turn the camera on and allow the company to see into the car.
When asked about the addition of cameras to their rental cars and how many cars featured the product, Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice told Fusion.net, “Approximately a quarter of our vehicles across the country have a NeverLost unit and slightly more than half of those vehicles have the NeverLost 6 model installed.”
CBSNews.com also reached out to Hertz and talked to spokesman Rich Broome:
“We are only aware of three customers, so far, who've complained about the cameras. I don't believe anyone has asked for a different car. We don't want anyone concerned [to think] that we're invading their privacy...We did not believe there was any cause for concern. I don't know we were thinking that anybody would have thought we would be recording them.”
Basically, Hertz is claiming that the camera is in place just in case the company decides to eventually implement the technology to connect live with the driver. The feature will be a major positive when operational in case of accidents or the car breaking down, as talking face-to-face with a human during an emergency would be very helpful.
The trouble is that many travelers renting cars fell uncomfortable with the presence of the cameras and it could deter them from renting from the same company again. While Hertz claims the cameras are not functional, they are still in the car and that’s enough to make people feel uneasy.
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