Driver Banned from Own Garage after leaving Bad Review

Are we handing over too much control to technology? Automologist MAC weighs in after this recent incident proved that we might be…

Just open, will YOU!

This has got to be one of the more wacky bit of motoring news I have seen for a while. In the age of the internet and online reviews, there are definitely good ways and perhaps not so good ways to respond to negative feedback. You can of course take the criticism on board and try to get a positive result for the customer…or you could remotely lock them out of their garage. This is what happened to a Mr R. Martin of Oklahoma, USA after he posted online his less than perfect experience with ‘Garadget’, which apparently is an app that allows you to remotely control your garage door.

The one-star review and some pretty choice words were not taken lightly by the manufacturer, who chose to reply in the public forum, criticizing the use of profane language.

Now, if you read the final line, you will see that the response from Garadget finished with the line that the customer’s unit would be denied a server connection. Therefore, the manufacturer was able to identify the buyer of the device and remotely disable the device – in this case, the garage door. I have heard of people being banned from customer review sites for abusive conduct but this is most definitely the first time I have heard of anyone being banned from their own property for it. I assume that Mr Martin could manually override Garadget by going old-school and actually getting out of his car to open the garage door, but this scenario does raise a lot of questions about how we have given unseen tech companies power and access to our lives in ways that should demand more scrutiny.

Just think about the inexorable march of self-driving vehicles which are set to become an ever increasing part of our lives. Ford has just announced that it is on track to manufacturing self-drive cars by 2021, when we can expect these machines to be making life and death decisions and outpacing our ability to fundamentally change road laws to accommodate them.

Just think – if the maker of an app can throw a hissy-fit and immobilise your garage door, then what are the implications for driverless technology and how vulnerable it could become. For sure, when I accept the inevitable and get into my first autonomous ride and I see the name Garadget anywhere, I shall be getting straight back out again.

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