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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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  • The next step? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fragfoo ( 2018548 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:05PM (#39737201)

    And in all new persons from 2016.

    (Maybe old ones too)

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:15PM (#39737343) Homepage Journal

      "Virtually every car that has an air bag has some kind of recording ability," says James Casassa, of Wolf Forensics which specializes in downloading crash information from vehicles made by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The recorders capture information about how fast you were going and whether you slammed on the brakes in the seconds before and after a crash. They capture just a snapshot before and after a crash, not a continual record of your driving activity -- which would be far more concerning for privacy. (But don't worry! You can get a far more invasive event recorder from your insurance company if you're looking to lower your car insurance rates.) []

      • by hAckz0r ( 989977 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:25PM (#39738245)
        I would generally agree with your assessment. My only issue is that the wording of the Bill is somewhat open-ended, in that it does not say any specific requirements for what gets recorded, only a general statement on "safety" related data. The issue is it could have a type of 'feature creep" where certain organizations push for somewhat unrelated metrics to be collected under the general guise of safety. Is GPS position history safety related? Some might argue it is. I think that any bill passed should enumerate exactly what details are to be recorded, after all, the auto companies need to know what kind of sensors are to be deployed otherwise the costs will eventually get out of hand as new requirements are added. The Government has a history of moving the goal posts if they are not nailed down first.

        shall require event data recorders to capture and store data related to motor vehicle safety covering a reasonable time period before, during, and after a motor vehicle crash or airbag deployment, including a rollover;

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:41PM (#39738479)

          The bill references Title 49 part 563 of the US Code of Federal Regulations, which you can find here.

          No GPS position. Speed, throttle, steering, seatbelt use, airbag deployment, etc. etc. are there.

        • Also, if your car as On*Star, snip the antennae, and short the thing out.

          They track your location, and listen to your cabin conversations in real-time.

          • by Jeng ( 926980 )

            So they listen to everyones conversations in real-time?

            That would take around an eighth or a quarter of society to accomplish.

            Even if they recorded everything and converted everything to text that would still be so much information it would be a significant portion of all information transmitted over the internet.

            I have a Hyundai, it has their version of Onstar called Bluelink, they can track just about any feature of my car at will, but their network is still young as is their software so I rather doubt th

            • They don't have to monitor everybody all the time. All that matters is that they can do it, and that Murphy's Law happens.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:22PM (#39737473)

      And in all new persons from 2016.

      (Maybe old ones too)

      Citizen. You're concern is noted and quite unnecessary. It is a matter of safety and we all want safety after all.

      Well, I don't know about you, but the thing that totally irks me is when my other citizens feel it necessary to run red lights - not only scaring me but threatening the safety of my children, my fellow drivers and myself of course.

      We are all in agreement here, I am sure.

      Then there is highway and interstate driving. Unfortunately, there are folks who seem to think that obeying traffic law - such as passing and speed limit laws - are optional and there seems to be an attitude of entitlement. We all don't want that.

      Anything that helps with the enforcement of such unsafe and deviant behavior is welcomed by everyone including yourself.

      Compliance in necessary from all and will be enforced.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

    •'s_Run []'s_Run_(film) []
      "To track this, the humans are implanted at birth with a Lifeclock crystal in the palm of their hand that changes colors as they approach their "Last Day". To maintain order, the computer has assigned Sandmen (officially known as DS agents, de facto executioners), who pursue and terminate Runners (those who try to avoid Carrousel)."

  • Just a recorder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If they are indeed just local data recorders, I don't really see a problem, as they could be used to make insurance arguments a lot less painful.

    It's only really a privacy concern for the overly paranoid if they are data-transmission-enabled.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:14PM (#39737309)

      What? You think that an insurance company wouldn't try to get out of paying a claim if they could find out whether you were speeding? Information is enabling. People should think long and hard about what they want to enable others (especially the government and corporations) to do with their information.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:17PM (#39737395)

        Thinking long and hard is... oh, hey! The football game is on! Grab a beer and have a seat!

    • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:50PM (#39737881)

      If they are indeed just local data recorders, I don't really see a problem, as they could be used to make insurance arguments a lot less painful.

      As if insurance companies are going to lower your premiums. What they'll do with this data is, increase premiums on those they now know are 'unsafe'. As in, you actually drive your car instead of keeping it safely in the garage. Or drive through 'unsafe' neighborhoods because it's the only fast way to work. Or drive 'too much', because statistics say an accident is inevitable, and the more you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. Or, on Jan 1, you acellerated 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and did some sharp turns, no matter that you were manuevering to get out of an accident.

      It's only really a privacy concern for the overly paranoid if they are data-transmission-enabled.

      or, you know, if a cop can pull a quick download off it at a routine traffic stop or 'manditory spot inspection' with or without a warrant. Or probable cause. Or because he's bored and his sergeant is hassling him to get that ticket book filled out so that the city can make up the revenue shortfall from lost taxes as people move out of the area searching for jobs. Ignore the 5th Ammendment aspects of that black box for a moment and think it through. Those black boxes are meant to be used, and not necessarily in your favor. You really think they won't be downloaded and analysed at any excuse? You really think there won't be rulings that they somehow magically don't violate your 5th Ammendment rights? Maybe you're insufficiently paranoid.

      • by tftp ( 111690 )

        your 5th Ammendment rights

        The right to remain silent. Courts ruled (in cases of missing keys for some locks and safes - and perhaps passwords) that you don't have to tell the court anything, but the police can wreck your safe in any way they like. This certainly applies to the black box in your car. The box has no constitutional rights.

        Perhaps you were thinking of the 4th Amendment - against unreasonable searches. However that had been taken care of (against you) already []:

        "Conversely, the Court has approved routine warrantless seizures, for example "where there is probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been or is being committed."

        In other words, if the LEO st

  • 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 []. 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.
  • slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigtrike ( 904535 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:09PM (#39737237)

    The next thing you know, the government will be totally involved in your private lives, such as making decisions about who you can marry and restricting your ability to make decisions about your own body.

    • Re:slippery slope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by yurtinus ( 1590157 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:14PM (#39737327)
      This made me giggle, then it made me weep. I'm posting because there is no +1: Uncomfortable Truth mod....
  • Big Brother? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:09PM (#39737243)

    (b) Limitations on Information Retrieval-

    (1) OWNERSHIP OF DATA- Any data in an event data recorder required under part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, regardless of when the passenger motor vehicle in which it is installed was manufactured, is the property of the owner, or in the case of a leased vehicle, the lessee of the passenger motor vehicle in which the data recorder is installed.

    (2) PRIVACY- Data recorded or transmitted by such a data recorder may not be retrieved by a person other than the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle in which the recorder is installed unless--

    (A) a court authorizes retrieval of the information in furtherance of a legal proceeding;

    (B) the owner or lessee consents to the retrieval of the information for any purpose, including the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle;

    (C) the information is retrieved pursuant to an investigation or inspection authorized under section 1131(a) or 30166 of title 49, United States Code, and the personally identifiable information of the owner, lessee, or driver of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved information; or

    (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.

    Big deal.

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:11PM (#39737273)
      It's a good thing we know from experience that our government only collects data it's legally authorized to collect.
      • 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.

    • It is a big deal, because it's NONE OF THEIR FUCKING BUSINESS.

      And how hard is it to get a warrant?

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

        by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:33PM (#39737615) Homepage Journal

        It is when you are in an accident,.

        Don't like it? then only drive on your own property.

        "And how hard is it to get a warrant?"
        ah, now you are focused on the correct thing.

        Look, everything you do outside of your home is being collected.
        There area lot of advantages to that. The fight shouldn't be not to do it. No one will go with that because the advantages are fer too great to people.
        Fight what the police and corporations can do with it. That's the problem.

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

        by an unsound mind ( 1419599 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:33PM (#39737627)

        The problem is that most cars already ship with black boxes - ones which have no regulation. This INCREASES data privacy.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          Exactly. This actually sounds like a good thing. It's both requiring it and putting limits on it so that Toyota can't lie and say they don't have it anymore.
      • Re:Big Brother? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:39PM (#39737723)

        It is a big deal, because it's NONE OF THEIR FUCKING BUSINESS.

        The use of a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and it can be rescinded at any time by the state you live in. Because of so-called motor-vehicle compact laws, you will probably not get another license in any other state. Anything that happens on public roads is their business. If you have a problem with that, you can pay to build private roads and pay for the maintenance of those roads with tolls. Or... you can enjoy free and total access to all public roads, provided you're willing to deal with the fact that they can, are, and will track you. There's no difference between a black box and a camera at every point along the road.

        Be more afraid of what insurance companies will start doing in 30 years when there's a black box in every vehicle. "Well, you can pay $10 a month if you get our 'all your black box are belong to us' plan, or $1,000 a month for our 'standard' plan. Oh, by the way, carrying insurance is mandatory in your state. Well, what's it going to be, Citizen?

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

          by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:30PM (#39739191)

          The use of a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right,

          This oft-repeated lie needs to be taken out and shot (along with the people who repeat it)

          REPEAT AFTER ME:
          The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

          There is no enumerated right to have children. Using the same logic, the conclusion is that having children is a privilege that can be revoked at the Government's whim.

          Would the founding fathers have said that riding a horse a privilege? Or a bicycle? Under what rational does using mechanical power instead of muscle power to propel it transform a mode of travel from a right to a privilege?

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

        by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:45PM (#39737809)

        It is a big deal, because it's NONE OF THEIR FUCKING BUSINESS.

        Of course, you are operating that vehicle on a public roadway, so how it's operated *is* their fucking business, especially if you break the law, harm someone else or their property.

    • 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.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Got to sign up for on star.

        Also, what data? Yeah, some Chinese hacker want's to know some anonymous person drives to work at 5:30 am and stopped for 3 lights.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lgw ( 121541 )

          Right, our government would never buy all your data from Onstar's Chinese affiliate to work around legal limts. Just like they'd never trade information with a foregn government who spies on American citizens in ways they're forbdden to. Yeah, nothing to see here, move along.

      • You're free to disable the OnStar system in a vehicle you own. Are you free to disable the government mandated black box?

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

      by berashith ( 222128 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:27PM (#39737535)

      all good until you hit a TSA minded check point that says you must turn over access to the data or you are not allowed to continue driving. You will not be allowed to turn around, you will have to leave the car in their possession. If anything on the recorder indicates that you have been exceeding speed limits , then thse will be ticketable offenses.

      The track record is too severe to trust our govt with this idea.

  • by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:14PM (#39737323) Homepage

    This Black Box is similar to stuff that's already IN your car, and airplanes, etc. Here is the legislature that will be revised to *require* the devices, so you can look at the details of what's being required. []

    Particularly, check the latter sections. "Each vehicle equipped with an EDR must meet the requirements specified in 563.7 for data elements, 563.8 for data format, 563.9 for data capture, 563.10 for crash test performance and survivability, and 563.11 for information in owner's manual."

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:15PM (#39737337) Homepage Journal

    Can you find a source for this information a bit more reliable than Infowars? I accidentally clicked on it and now I have to go wash my mouse and monitor.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:15PM (#39737361)

    ... prices just took another jump.

    I suppose its not all that big a deal if I get into a wreck and they want to download the airbag and antilock brake performance data. But at some point, the cops are going to want the capability to jack in to your car's log and download that rather than actually watching for violations. That's when I park the new car and go back to driving my '79 4x4. No event recorder. No working smog devices (old enough to be exempt from testing). No airbags. And the energy absorbing collision crush zone is the Prius I'm about to hit.

    • What about car 'kits'? You know those "T" bucket roadsters. Most of those are based on old VW bug chassis, but some builders actually wield up their own frames and drop in big block Chevy engines (my next door neighbor used an old Ford marine engine). the bodies are usually store bought fiberglass. Then there are the EV conversions.

  • If the primary source for a link is InfoWars, look for a secondary link from a less biased and/or batshit insane source. If one cannot be found, skip the article please.

  • Perspective (Score:5, Funny)

    by jsm18 ( 1317959 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @03:31PM (#39737589)

    Maybe the government could contract with Apple and produce a White Box model. People would be lining up around the block to get it installed.

  • 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 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 SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:19PM (#39738181)

    I've actually thought about putting one in my own car. I was sitting at a stop light maybe 10 years ago when some moron teenager was speeding down the road at 45 mph while fishing around for CDs on the floor of his car. He hit the car BEHIND me without so much as tapping his brakes. That car smashed into mine, totalling it. My car then hit the guy in front of me. Imagine my outrage when talking to some insurance drone who told me he had to talk to the other drivers to see if they felt one impact or two. The theory being that if it was one, it was because *I* was moving and hit the guy in front of me, causing them all to pile into me. If it was more than one, the story was as I related.

    I wouldn't have minded having a /var/log somewhere that said 22:34:02: velocity 0.00 m/s accel 0.00 g throttle 0% brakes 5%....22:34:45 velocity 35.33 m/s accel 12.1 g throttle 0% brakes 0%. Hard data would have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt I was in a stationary car that suddenly accelerated like it was hit by a moving SUV.

  • 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.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham