Skip to comments.Black Box Recorders: Groundbreaking Safety Devices Or The End Of Privacy? (In all cars by 2015)
Posted on 04/19/2013 12:53:56 PM PDT by LibWhacker
We're all familiar with event data recorders -- or as they're more commonly known, "black boxes". EDRs are standard equipment on airplanes, and any time there's a mishap, news programs are full of journalists making guesses about what the recorders will reveal.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that EDRs are coming to cars, too. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has backed legislation to make the devices mandatory on all new vehicles, beginning with the 2015 model year.
What you may not know is that the new legislation would only affect around 4% of vehicles sold in America. Why? Because the other 96% already have EDRs. If you drive a car made by a big-name automaker like Ford, General Motors, or Toyota, chances are good that there's a black box sitting in your dashboard.
In other words, the vast majority of vehicles sold in the U.S. today come with EDRs, and soon the gizmos will be found on all of them. Barring a huge shift in politics and/or technology, this situation isn't likely to change.
However, there are plenty of lingering questions about the mandatory installation of EDRs. Most of those questions revolve around privacy: (a) how should manufacturers notify new-car shoppers about the presence of the recording device, (b) how long should data be stored on the device, and (c) who owns that data?
AAA attempted to raise concerns about all three issues late last year, and the Associated Press has just picked up on the matter in the new video posted above. But so far, nothing has happened at the legislative level to address privacy concerns in a substantial way.
On the one hand, traditional notions of privacy seem to be changing. In an era when people are more than happy to share their locations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, privacy ain't what it used to be. As a result, EDRs might not be seen as overly intrusive.
Also, EDRs stand to boost auto safety by noting technological and mechanical problems in our vehicles. And in the long term, devices similar to EDRs may play a key role in vehicle-to-vehicle communications, which could eliminate thousands of collisions each year.
On the other hand, just because our definition of privacy is in flux doesn't mean that there's no such thing as privacy anymore. There are still plenty of lines in the sand that few folks want to cross.
For example, even if federal legislation doesn't stipulate that warrants are required to tap EDR data, one good lawsuit would likely find in favor of an individual's right to privacy. Courts have also questioned the usefulness of black box data, expressing wariness about the idea of EDRs as dispassionate witnesses to accidents. In fact, one judge in Nevada agreed that black box data "constitute[s] unreliable hearsay".
And of course, EDRs could provide one more way for identity thieves to steal vital personal info. (Thankfully, someone's already working on a fix for that.)
To be used to tax us by the miles we drive. A miles road usage tax.
And yet, we still are not allowed to see Ubama’s actual, physical birth certificate or find out which of the Social Security Numbers he has used is actually his.
The restoration and renewal of old cars is going to be a booming growth industry over the next decade.
I’ve been wondering if a strategically placed magnet would keep it from recording.
You will probably have a “choice”: Accept the spy or pay 10X higher insurance costs. We accepted the myth that driving is a privilege years ago.
Our world is shrinking one unacceptable “choice” at a time.
That which can be built can be jammed.
>>All I want to know is, how do you disable them? <<
A new cottage industry that if it doesn’t arise I will start myself.
Of course, the cost of this BIG Brother device will be passed on to the consumer.
You disable them - your car No Go.
We are rapidly getting to the point, or already passed it, where technology for technology’s sake has gone beyond bounds. A few decades since the pocket calculator became cheap, simple mental math ability has been lost, people cannot even run a cash register now. Then comes the PDAs. People now roaming around with these things stuck in their ears like a bunch of zombies who cannot even carry on an in person conversation. Now we have cars reporting in how many miles we drive, where we are and so on so the government can keep tabs on us. Not for me. If I have to keep my current car till I die, so be it.
Won’t affect me. My ‘98 Firebird is the last car I’ll ever buy.
A high-powered industrial magnet (like a bulk tape eraser) should scramble them enough to make them useless. Of course, tampering with one will be made a crime too, no doubt.
I knew nothing about them until a friend showed me his flash reprogrammer for his Suburban. He programs it to get better power and gas mileage, reflashes it to factory default for smog checks and then flashes it back. You just plug it into the diagnostic port and push a button. They are not cheap but there is a huge gray market out there for them for all vehicles. I know there are instructions out there now to disable EDRs and I expect a similar market will arise for reflashing devices.
Lol, probably. Your car no go, the insurance company no pay, Congress declare you veeeeeery dangerous man, confiscate guns.
Time to buy a muscle car from the early 1970’s.
Also, vehicle black boxes aren’t like airplane black boxes that also record cockpit conversations.
It’s really just additional memory in the car’s computer to record and store whatever the programmers tell it to. You won’t be able to disable it without disabling the car.
Right now it just records diagnostic data for mechanics to jack into with their scan tool.
The recorder can also be monitored by the computer so if it is disabled in any manner the vehicle will not run. There are already a number of vehicle systems monitored that the computer will shut down the vehicle if they malfunction. The "black box" is a recording function of the computer. To disable it one must disable the computer. Try disabling the computer and see if that works for you.
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