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‘Black Boxes’ May Be Coming to Your Car in the Future [POLL]

Black boxes coming to cars in 2015?
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

You’ve heard of black boxes in commercial airliners and other planes. The boxes track every move, every change of course, and are useful in finding out what happened when an airplane goes down. The Feds are thinking of putting them in your car.

Senate Bill S. 1813 could pass the House and Senate next year and become law. What is it? The bill would require that by 2015 Event Data Recorders (black boxes) be installed in ALL new vehicles built or sold in the United States.

The rationale behind this seems reasonable: collect data and information from accidents and driving habits to make transportation safer. But it’s what’s tucked inside the bill that is troublesome, and it could open up a whole can of privacy and legal worms.

According to a report by the respected National Center For Public Policy Research,  if or when the bill passes the Department of Transportation will decide what data is collectible, how it’s retrieved, who can retrieve it and have access to it.

Kinda like Obamacare? Pass the bill, then decide how it’s going to work!

It could amount to an incredible invasion of privacy, according to experts who are familiar with the capabilities of the EDR system.

From the Center For Public Policy Report: “According to data recovery specialist Dean Gonsowki, eDiscovery counsel with Clearwell, which is part of the security firm Symantec, an EDR contains a ‘staggering’ amount of information about you and your car. ‘Now you’re in a situation where, if someone has the time and expertise, they can say you drove from here to there at this speed, you parked at Whole Foods, here’s what you bought, then you got back in your car and drove here and made a call to this number,’ he explains. ‘It’s staggering how much information can be collected.’

If you think this is Orwellian, consider this: if you are a Progressive Insurance customer who uses SnapShot,  then you’re already tracking your data. Progressive uses the SnapShot device to track driver habits, behavior and other insurance-related factors. They, in turn, claim to give you better rates based on better driving habits. The SnapShot, say critics, is a smaller, less invasive version of the fullblown EDR.

Gives whole new meaning to back-seat driving!

Do you favor putting EDR equipment in cars? Take our poll!

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