March 17, 2015
Boycott call of Hertz Car Rental for Potentially Spying on Customers has Merit
Summary: A retired judge reminds consumers you have a choice where to rent from
    Would you want to rent a car with a video camera pointed at you and your family that a third party can watch? Would you be comfortable driving a car knowing someone can watch your every move and listen to what you are saying? How would you feel if you only found out about it after the fact? Those are among some of the questions asked by Neil Cavuto today on Fox News.

    Cavuto posed the questions to (retired) Judge Andrew Napolitano Monday, March 16th on his Fox News show, and Judge Napolitano called for a boycott of Hertz Car Rental. Cavuto reported that Hertz navigation device have a built-in camera that can be used to spy on renters, but they do not know where the microphone is located. Judge Napolitano suggested that tape can be placed over the camera to protect privacy, and Boycott Watch points out that does not eliminate the hidden microphone.

    Hertz made the following statement: "The cameras in Neverlost 6 units aren't functional and cannot be turned on under any circumstances, by either renters or by the company. When we chose the new hardware device for Neverlost 6, we included a camera option in the event that a video conferencing function might be useful, future application that renters would welcome."

    Consumers have heard that Hertz claim before, only to find out cameras in computers can be activated surreptitiously by third parties, including government agencies and hackers. This is by far not the first hidden camera found in electronic devices. The original Kindle Fire has a hidden camera and there is no documentation for it.

    The fact is there is no way for consumers to know if Hertz is telling the truth, or for that matter if a third party can activate the camera. In the newscast, Judge Napolitano summed it up with "We are free to go to elsewhere. We are free to invest in a car rental company that promises not to do this." Regarding teleconferencing in the Hertz statement, Judge Napolitano further stated "That is ridiculous.... It would probably be unlawful to take your eyes off the road so that you look at the camera for the purpose of a videoconference. Why would they pay for a piece of equipment that doesn't work?"

    Boycott Watch believes Judge Napolitano made excellent points. While we do not advocate boycotts, we encourage consumers to make informed decision before buying or renting any products and services.

Boycoting Peace
by Fred Taub
President, Boycott Watch

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