Does tanning lotion protect against sunburn? Maybe, but it can also give the user an exaggerated sense of security and encourage him to stay on the beach too long.


What about diet soda and light beer? Don't some consumers conclude that they can drink twice as many and wind up gaining weight?


There's a downside to everything – and a trial lawyer somewhere who'll try to find it, exaggerate it, and exploit it for personal gain.

Dallas attorney Marc Stanley discovered that late-model cars equipped with computers are subject to hacking, as are most things run by computers, and now he's trying to make the most of it.

Some people complain about how computers in cars drive up the purchase price of the vehicles and increase the cost of repairs, but who ever carps about the added convenience and safety they provide?

Most drivers know if their cars can be manipulated remotely. That's often the reason they've purchased them. That's what OnStar's all about, and it's a pretty handy thing when you're lost or locked out.

Only the most paranoid drivers are going to have such an inflated sense of self-worth as to fancy themselves potential targets for a hacker.

Nevertheless, Stanley is suing Toyota, Ford, and GM in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, San Francisco Division, seeking damages in excess of $5 million on behalf of a class of just three motorists (so far).

The rationale for the suit is that the cars manufactured by these three companies are “susceptible to computer hacking and are therefore unsafe.”

Not that any of their cars have been hacked: just that, theoretically, they could be.

Of course, someone could cut the brake lines or put sugar in the gas tanks or do any number of other malicious things that the companies have not seen fit to make impossible, but “computer hacking” is the vehicle that Marc Stanley hopes to drive to victory. We can only hope someone hacks it.

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