Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things

        Tech | Connectivity

8
An Internet of Stool Pigeons? Now That's Progressive
Technology that can monitor your driving is already here. The model shown was marketed toward parents interested in keeping an eye on their teen drivers. © Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis
Technology that can monitor your driving is already here. The model shown was marketed toward parents interested in keeping an eye on their teen drivers. © Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis

You open your insurance bill to discover that your rates have gone up yet again. Apparently, your fancy Japanese toilet narked on your fat intake, your smart watch ratted you out for blood pressure spikes and your car says that you were out driving too late through some dodgy neighborhoods [source: Progressive]. Welcome to the Internet of Stool Pigeons.

Insurance companies promise safe driver insurance discounts if we'll just plug a monitoring device into our cars. It doesn't take an actuarial genius to guess that all that data will affect insurance rates down the road. So what happens when we pile on data gathered by our fitness apps or wearables, appliances and loyalty cards? I hope you like Flo, because you're going to be sharing your entire life with her company (Progressive) and others like it.

And not just them: After all, data can be hacked, sold or cross-referenced for everything from identity theft to employer snooping to law enforcement. Should you be more worried that your your employer knows that you took the rental car on a side trip to Tijuana, or that the cops (and your insurer) can tell that you were illegally texting while driving? Either way, get ready to pay.