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Expect Mandatory 'Big Brother' Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015 628

New submitter Kraftwerk writes "A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards. Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for 'Mandatory Event Data Recorders' to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so. 'Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,' states the bill."
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Expect Mandatory 'Big Brother' Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

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  • by nonprofiteer ( 1906180 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:09PM (#39737235)
    Most cars already have black boxes."The 'event data recorder' is known commonly as a black box and has been installed in some vehicles since 1996. About 60 million vehicles now have them and 85 percent of new cars this year will come standard with a “black box,” according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates." -- via NHSTA [vehicle-dvr.com]. There are actually some good things in this bill -- such as establishing that police need a court order to get access to data and that the driving data belongs to the owner of the car not the manufacturer.
  • Open format? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:18PM (#39737421)

    IIRC, one of the big issues with the existing black boxes is that they are in a format only the OEM can read.

    I didn't see anything in TFA about making a standard, any news about that?

    I'd love the ability to put an app on my laptop or phone & review the data logs my car can produce. There a ton of data in a modern car that could be very useful to an owner. Even more if you're a parent with kids that drive.

  • Re:Big Brother? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:22PM (#39737467)

    (D) the information is retrieved for the purpose of determining the need for, or facilitating, emergency medical response in response to a motor vehicle crash.

    OnStar approves. Now it can track all vehicles at all times with the blanket disclaimer that it's to facilitate an emergency response. OnStar is a private company. OnStar can then freely share that information with its affiliates, who may be overseas. Data now laundered, and free for sale to anyone who wants it domestically.

  • Re:Big Brother? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:22PM (#39737471) Homepage Journal

    It's a good thing we know from experience that our government only collects data it "legally" authorizes itself to collect.


    However, inherent distrust of governing bodies aside, I don't see a problem with the law requiring a warrant for police to collect the data. Were that not stipulated, you and I both know cops would take that as an legitimization of their illegal searches.

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:31PM (#39737593)

    Black Boxes are typically things that scare Slashdot. We don't know how they work, as compared to a documented "white box" solution.

    This definition of a "Black Box" is different. It's an event data recorder, meant to be like the orange devices found at airplane crash sites designed to let everybody know the status of the vehicle before it crashed. No big privacy change because most cars already have one, it's just a law change that requires there be standards,. rules, and such for these things in the future.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:35PM (#39737649)

    Republicans were ike that post-Eisenhower and pre-George Bush.
    Remember when the DEMOCRATS were for small government and individual rights (except blacks)? Now they boss us around as if we were employees of the governments. "Buy insurance." "Throw-away your lightbulbs." "Put black boxes in your cars." "Submit to random VIPR patdowns all across the country."

    When both parties are pro-government, then it's only a matter of time until a "you can't trust the government" contingent arrives on the scene. As Jefferson stated, that is the natural tendency of the party system: 1 for more government; 1 for less government. I predict it will happen within the Republican party, thanks to the Ron Paul movement (started 2007).

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:36PM (#39737661)

    Define speeding.

    On most (translation: ALL) roads in the US, the typical speed of traffic is higher than the posted limit. In fact, driving the limit, some claim, causes more accidents than going with the flow of traffic. In spite of this, traffic deaths have been falling for decades, and non-injury accidents as well, all in the face of increased miles traveled and vehicles on the road.

    Insurance covers the driver based on his record of accidents. Its not their job to enforce the law. And its not their job to second guess an evasive maneuver that might exceed the speed limit.

    But what makes you sure this will only be used in claims? In addition to mandatory smog inspections, what is to prevent some governments from mandating recorder dumps yearly, followed by citations in the mail?

    Suggesting any tiny violation invalidates your insurance simply eliminates insurance totally, because they will always find something in a recorder to invalidate your policy. Is that what you are really advocating? It doesn't sound like you have thought this thru very well.

  • by cdibbs ( 1979044 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:43PM (#39737767)
    Once cars drive themselves, people will be far more interested in having these black boxes. They're only put off by them while the black boxes could rat them out for going 70 in a 55. As for the devices recording routes, times, destinations and other "private" information, I'm sure the self-driving cars will already log this information as a side-effect of using remote servers for navigation and traffic data. This may already be going on every time you use your smart phone for directions...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:17PM (#39738151)

    Wow you are...just....

    You can breath and sit still at the same time, right? I don't mean chew gum and walk. That would clearly be out of your league.

    Let me use small words so I don't lose you:

    The re-pub-li-cans made the Tea Party so they control the "you can't trust gov'ment" people. The Dem-o-crats would like to do the same thing with the "99%/Occupy" thingy but don't know how. This way both parties can dump the 'less gov'ment' nut-bags (from their point of view) into the non-party parties and pretend to listen to them. In reality what they do is point and laugh. "look at the fringe nut cases. They are not part of our party."

    Case closed.

  • Re:slippery slope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:39PM (#39738445) Journal

    So you;re saying you prefer a different strawman then? People on both extremes of the social political spectrum believe some pretty crazy stuff, no doubt. But the mainstream consevative position is simply that, in the normal, case of pregnacy (desired or otherwise), there are the rights of two people to consider, not just one.

    I'm not sure how much I agree with that, but it's not some crazy irrational idea, nor is it "we hate women, lets find new ways to express that". At some point between conception and birth (and likely not at either extreme), there are two people to consider, and it's not just the mother's vote any more, but the state representing its interest in people too weak to protect themselves.

    Personally, I don't think we're too far off right now. First trimester, almost anything goes. Second, there are some hurdles. Third, life of the mother. That sounds reasonable to me, since I don't have any particular insight into "when personhood begins" (and distrust anyone who's too sure they know).

  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:02PM (#39738791) Journal
    For a while now I've wondered if it would be feasible to make these black boxes exchange info when a collision occurs, making it much harder to get away with a hit-and-run. As the car would broadcast the data upon detecting a collision, receivers could also be put up at intersections to direcly communicate to the local authorities, which would help with car/pedestrian hit-and-run events where there is no victim black box to otherwise receive the data.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!