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United States Government Privacy

Lawmakers Try To Block Black Box Technology In Cars, DVR Tracking 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the will-you-stop-following-me dept.
Lucas123 writes "Lawmakers this week filed bipartisan legislation that would give car owners control over data collected in black box-style recorders that may be required in all models as soon as next year. The move follows a separate proposal made earlier this month that would limit telecommunications companies in tracking viewer activity with new digital video recorders (DVR) technology. The 'Black Box Privacy Protection Act' would give vehicle owners more control over the information collected through a car or motorcycle event data recorders, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed be required in all new cars as of 2014. 'For me, this is a basic issue of privacy,' said Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA). 'Many consumers aren't even aware that this technology is already in most vehicles.' The second, more colorfully titled piece of legislation, is the 'We Are Watching You Act'. The bill was filed in response to reports that national telecommunications companies are exploring technology for DVRs that would record the personal activities of people as they watch television at home in order to target them for marketing and advertising. If implemented, among other things, when the recording device is in use, the words 'WE ARE WATCHING YOU' would appear on the television screen. 'This may sound preposterous, but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration,' Capuano said. 'These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy.'"
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Lawmakers Try To Block Black Box Technology In Cars, DVR Tracking

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  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @07:18PM (#44065867) Homepage

    Actually I wouldn't mind having a black box in the car recording everything... IF I have access to the data. I've contemplated wiring up cameras and building a small server to continuously record front and rear views, so if there's an accident or something and there's questions about what happened I can pull up the video and say "Here, watch what happened.". Having had friends who've been dinged for rear-ending someone because they got rear-ended and shoved forward, I think it'd be wonderful to be able to pull up the black box record and prove that I was stationary with the engine at idle and the brake fully applied when the collision occurred and could not have been the cause.

    What I object to isn't the black box itself. It's having that black box there and not having any access to it or control over or even knowledge of who's pulling the data from it and when.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @07:36PM (#44065955)

      Dashboard cams are very common in Russia. That's why so many people got good shots of the meteorites. Apparently the cams are useful when dealing with some of the local LEO's.

      • by Kozz (7764) on Friday June 21, 2013 @01:09AM (#44067677)

        Dashboard cams are very common in Russia. That's why so many people got good shots of the meteorites. Apparently the cams are useful when dealing with some of the local LEO's.

        Dammit, man, this is Slashdot. Your second sentence mentioned meteors, so I naturally assumed that LEO stood for low-earth orbit. Had to read it a second time, though maybe my first reading would make sense, too.

      • That's why so many people got good shots of the meteorites

        Not to mention good footage of heart-stopping and/or hilarious shenanigans in Russian traffic. Have a look on YouTube.

        These cams are rather inexpensive these days; no need to be messing around with web cams and servers in your car.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        The problem with that site is good luck actually buying any of the cameras that are reviewed. They're basically reviewed by chipset, and they're not sold that way. Or, maybe they're sold that way but only contain the advertised chipset 60% of the time.

        Dashcams aren't sold under brand names as far as I can tell, and that makes it really hard to buy anything of decent quality. The only sites I've found so far that seem trustworthy are MUCH more expensive.

        When companies like Sony/Panasonic/etc start making

    • by sribe (304414) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @07:56PM (#44066069)

      Actually I wouldn't mind having a black box in the car recording everything... IF I have access to the data. I've contemplated wiring up cameras and building a small server to continuously record front and rear views, so if there's an accident or something and there's questions about what happened I can pull up the video and say "Here, watch what happened.". Having had friends who've been dinged for rear-ending someone because they got rear-ended and shoved forward, I think it'd be wonderful to be able to pull up the black box record and prove that I was stationary with the engine at idle and the brake fully applied when the collision occurred and could not have been the cause.

      Exactly this. 3 years ago the wife was the middle car of 3 sitting stopped at a light. A 4th car rear-ended the car behind her hard enough to shove them all together and push the front car through the crosswalk. 3 years of constant pain, spinal surgery, physical therapy, countless outpatient procedures, cognitive therapy, and because the damages to the cars were not major, the at-fault driver's insurance company has maintained that she could not possibly have been injured in that accident. The latest is their bullshit engineering analysis, claiming that the at-fault driver was going 3-4 miles per hour--to me that is so obviously an impossible conclusion that I'm astounded that a licensed engineer would put his name to it--I just hope their lawyer is not able to baffle a jury into believing such a steaming pile. Responding police officer did not remotely do her job, and damn I wish the at-fault car would have had a black-box data recorder, and that the data from it would have been captured at that time.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:10PM (#44066145)

      Actually I wouldn't mind having a black box in the car recording everything... IF I have access to the data.

      Here's the argument, access vs control. I'm all for black boxes in cars too (I've already installed a dash cam in my car) but I would also require access to the data.

      That being said, I highly doubt that these things will be tamper proof in the slightest (manufacturers will simply pick the cheapest possible way to comply with the law). Black boxes will be easily hacked so it's a bit of moot point for people who are bad drivers and dont want the proof hanging around (however for good drivers, it does help clear them of fault in an accident).

      I've contemplated wiring up cameras and building a small server to continuously record front and rear views, so if there's an accident or something and there's questions about what happened I can pull up the video and say "Here, watch what happened."

      Most cars already have these sensors available through an ODBII interface, you can get bluetooth ODB connectors off Ebay for $15 and a free application called Torque on Android can read it (IIRC, for full logging you need the full application) so if you want a black box it can be set up with a cheap Android tablet and a dash cam. You could probably even use the Android device as a dash cam (although I haven't seen a mobile device with decent enough video quality to replace my 1080p 30 FPS camera). I've got mine hooked up to my phone, great for diagnosing problems and improving my driving style.

      However dash cam and logging devices are double edged swords. Along with proving you're not at fault, they can also prove you did something wrong and many people in my experience dont know when they're doing something wrong.

      • by icebike (68054)

        With Event Data recorders, you don't have to prevent hacking, or erasure. You just have to be able to detect that it occurred.
        There is no problem letting people read out the contents, or displaying on screen in cars that have screens.

        You are correct about the double edged sword issue.
        If the police and attorneys get to trawl your entire Cams recording (as they certainly will in discovery), some of which can be very long, they will almost certainly be able to find something you did wrong. Since drivers make

        • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:40PM (#44066641)

          With Event Data recorders, you don't have to prevent hacking, or erasure. You just have to be able to detect that it occurred.

          There in lies the problem, it's entirely possible to prevent that from being logged.

          Seeing as you have physical access to the hardware it would not be difficult at all. At worst it would be a wholesale replacement of the part with a pre-modified version. But it's far more likely that you'll just have to re-flash the firmware.

          Not that I'd advocate this, but I have to face the reality it will happen.

          The lawyers can data mine these incidents, 5mph over here, unsignaled lane change there, a lane drift on a totally empty road, and put you in the light of a careless driver, and claim that an attentive and defensive driver might have avoided the accident.

          This is why the law is very specific about fault (at least in my country). The road code is a 400 page document, if you printed it out you could use it for self defence.

          Even if you were in violation of one of the more minor road rules, you can still be ruled to be not at fault. I.E. if you were changing lanes at a traffic light (illegal where I live) and someone runs a red and T-Bones you, there was nothing you could do to avoid that accident. Also whilst the events leading up to an accident are taken into account there is a limit of what can be used (I.E. if someone overtakes you and immediately brakes, forcing you to rear-end him, you will be considered not at fault because the other driver acted in an unsafe manner to put you in that position. However an unsignaled lane change 2 minutes previous would not matter as it did not contribute to the event).

          BTW, an unsignaled lane change is the sign of a careless driver, it really should be muscle memory and you shouldn't have to think about it. Failing to do so every now and then is forgivable, but consistently forgetting is the sign of a bad driver. Drifting out of your lane unforgivable, regardless of how full or empty the road is. Anyone who has a history of forgetting to indicate or have trouble staying in their lane is bad driver.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        That is something I don't get. why don't car manufacturers give us mroe data than a stupid warning light?

        Sure leaving the warning light on the dash, but why not use the radio, navagation display, etc to display more detailed and less obscure data? Oh sure the warning light is becuase a cap is not on tight, no problem. or a sensor is going off I better not wait and rush to the mechanic faster so that it can be fixed.

        The car companies have the data right fucking there, but they don't want to expose it any

        • by mjwx (966435)

          That is something I don't get. why don't car manufacturers give us mroe data than a stupid warning light?

          Because the average driver can barely remember to indicate, let alone decipher complex instructions like "Change the oil now, dipstick".

          Unfortunately car designers have to consider the stupidest users when designing things. Also, the sensors cant always tell whats going on, I.E. fluid pressure could be falling because a cap is loose or because there is a hole in the line somewhere. You'll need to do

          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            Because the average driver can barely remember to indicate, let alone decipher complex instructions like "Change the oil now, dipstick".

            "... and don't forget to put the dipstick back in, dipstick!"

            Had a friend do it ; then we went up to the hills for a weekend, slowly losing oil by spray from the crankcase/ sump. Coming back home ... runs out of oil, miles from anywhere. We hitch-hiked home ; he had about a 5 mile walk to a petrol station, then 5 miles back, as the snow started falling. Sympathy didn't ooz

        • by Pubstar (2525396)
          Or you can just use a cheap ($20) OBDII sensor reader. My stinger one works great and came with all the adapters for older and newer cars. The plug is usually next to the steering column.
        • I used to have a VW and its oil gauge was fake! it did have a meter and a needle but it always moved to the center to show 'things are ok!'.

          it turns out that its an idiot light in the form of a gauge! if the oil pressure goes too low, the meter needle will show it on one extreme but its still just a binary readout in the form of an 'analog' gauge.

          what a scam! you think you read the pressure but its just a go/noGo indicator. those bastards.

          so, if they have a real meter but use it as an on/off indicator,

          • by dryeo (100693)

            Yea, I have a F150 and it not only has an idiot oil gauge but also an idiot voltmeter. Both permanently read about 60% when the truck is running. Someone said they did this because too many people would complain about low oil pressure at idle (normal) and I guess the same with the voltage including it dropping when the fan is on.
            People shouldn't be allowed to drive without being able to read the basic instruments.

      • by fafalone (633739)
        That being said, I highly doubt that these things will be tamper proof in the slightest (manufacturers will simply pick the cheapest possible way to comply with the law). Black boxes will be easily hacked so it's a bit of moot point for people who are bad drivers and dont want the proof hanging around (however for good drivers, it does help clear them of fault in an accident).

        Because everyone would have the knowledge and skills to do it? The world isn't like /. - only a tiny minority of the general popu
        • by mjwx (966435)

          That being said, I highly doubt that these things will be tamper proof in the slightest (manufacturers will simply pick the cheapest possible way to comply with the law). Black boxes will be easily hacked so it's a bit of moot point for people who are bad drivers and dont want the proof hanging around (however for good drivers, it does help clear them of fault in an accident).

          Because everyone would have the knowledge and skills to do it?

          Because no-one would offer such services to these people.

          Do you think the average street racer knows how to flash an ECU and change the boost on their turbo? Hell no, they pay someone who does.

      • by adolf (21054)

        However dash cam and logging devices are double edged swords. Along with proving you're not at fault, they can also prove you did something wrong and many people in my experience dont know when they're doing something wrong.

        If you've done something wrong and it results in an accident and it is recorded on video and/or one's own black box solution, then that seems like the perfect time to ingest (or otherwise eliminate or destroy) the MicroSD card.

        It ain't perfect, but it does dull the edge on the back-side

    • Just to be a bit silly: Actually, you'd still be a contributing factor to the rear-ender. If you are close enough that a low speed collision pushed you ahead into the car ahead of you, you are too close. If you are speaking of a high speed collision, then I'm pretty sure the damage to the rear of your vehicle would speak just as well to the point that it wasn't your fault.
      • Just to be a bit silly: Actually, you'd still be a contributing factor to the rear-ender. If you are close enough that a low speed collision pushed you ahead into the car ahead of you, you are too close.

        This isn't "silly" at all. Many official state drivers manuals and driver training programs advise you to leave a gap of a few feet or maybe half a car length in front of you when stopping. It not only prevents "chain reaction" collisions, but also provides maneuvering space if some other situation occurs (car in front stalls or is disabled, emergency vehicle needs to get through, etc.).

        Despite how common this practice is, stopping only a few inches behind the guy in front is an unsafe driving practice,

      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        These weren't low-speed collisions, though. The initiating car was going fast enough to shove 3-4 cars forward with the lead car ending up half a car-length forward of where it had been standing. The only reason my friend got out with just body damage was because there were 2 cars behind him with half a car-length between each and half a car-length between him and the car ahead of him. But the law was clear on the point: in a rear-end collision the car behind is at fault regardless. The initiating car was c

    • by icebike (68054) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:55PM (#44066407)

      If you look in your car manual for any late model vehicle you will find that what you asked for is already there.
      Its usually a very small bit of info, 30 seconds or less.

      My car's manual says this:

      Event Data Recorder (EDR)
      This vehicle is equipped with an event data recorder
      (EDR). The main purpose of an EDR is to record, in
      certain crash or near crash-like situations, such as an air
      bag deployment or hitting a road obstacle, data that will
      assist in understanding how a vehicle’s systems performed.
      The EDR is designed to record data related to
      vehicle dynamics and safety systems for a short period of
      time, typically 30 seconds or less.

      The EDR in this vehicle
      is designed to record such data as:
      How various systems in your vehicle were operating;
      Whether or not the driver and passenger safety belts
      were buckled/fastened;
      How far (if at all) the driver was depressing the
      accelerator and/or brake pedal; and,
      How fast the vehicle was traveling.
      These data can help provide a better understanding of
      the circumstances in which crashes and injuries occur.

      NOTE:EDR data are recorded by your vehicle only if a
      non-trivial crash situation occurs; no data are recorded by
      the EDR under normal driving conditions and no personal data (e.g., name, gender, age, and crash location)
      are recorded. However, other parties, such as law enforcement, could combine the EDR data with the type of
      personally identifying data routinely acquired during a
      crash investigation.

      To read data recorded by an EDR, special equipment is
      required
      , and access to the vehicle or the EDR is needed.
      In addition to the vehicle manufacturer, other parties,
      such as law enforcement, that have the special equipment, can read the information if they have access to the
      vehicle or the EDR.

      I see no problem with this type of info, because by the time an airbag deploys its already a matter of public safety and police are usually involved.

      Yes there is probably enough info in there to convict you. If you were accelerating at 55mph in a 25mph school zone when you ran over little Billy, you can expect your car to testify against you.

      I see no reason this information shouldn't be available to the owner without the need of special equipment, as long as the car was still able to power the recorder and provide readout somehow. I suspect the requirement for special equipment may be technical (how to power the device on enough to read it) and also legal, to prevent people from clearing the EDR after running over little Billy.

      But it would be nice to know what is in there. Especially when buying a used car.

    • I'd rather the damn thing only retain the last 30 seconds before a collision. This way, if someone rear-ends up, pushing you forward into the car in front, it's recorded. Don't need camera's for that. The sensors already there.

      The main issue as you said is the lack of tranparency as to what's being recorded and who in hell has access to that data. Things like GPS and speed are just two of the things I'm concerned with as the insurance company will ding you drastically for going with the flow of traffic even

    • by citizenr (871508)

      I've contemplated wiring up cameras and building a small server to continuously record front and rear views

      Welcome to 5 years ago. Today you can buy car DVR with 2 cameras at under $100.

    • Umm. If your car was rear ended that hard, then there is already far more graphic and undeniable proof that it was not use. Specifically, your wretched rear bumper and the wrecked car behind you.

    • Would you be as quick to show the video evidence if it proved you were at fault?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "In America, you watch Television.
    "In Soviet Russia, television watches YOU!!"''

  • black boxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @07:22PM (#44065881)

    Yeah, I got a primitive one in my own car. I just opened it up and wired the nvram reset to the ignition. Whenever the car turns off, it fires the reset. It's an amnesiac vehicle now. Of course, not everyone knows how to do this, but hey.

    • by game kid (805301)

      "Welcome to Ford SYNC, powered by...uh...what's that company with the sexy geek and the chair monkey again?"

    • I agree with the sentiment, but you are probably screwing your gas mileage and potentially your engine life. Just sayin'.
    • by lgw (121541)

      You do realize that black box is your best friend if you have an accident when you're not at fault? An idiot running after you can cost you tens of thousands in medical expense after medical expenses and his insurance pays out (happened to a family member) - I shudder to think of what it would cost if the first cop on the scene believed the other guy's lie, and you had no hard data.

      Today's black boxes only record 30 seconds of info anyhow. That info will be subpoenaed if someone dies in a crash. The cour

    • Yeah, I got a primitive one in my own car. I just opened it up and wired the nvram reset to the ignition. Whenever the car turns off, it fires the reset. It's an amnesiac vehicle now. Of course, not everyone knows how to do this, but hey.

      Why don't you commercialize it then?

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @07:23PM (#44065885) Homepage Journal

    Programming/reprogramming these things.

    Judge: Officer Friday, could you please repeat that, I'm not sure I heard it right.

    Friday: Yes, your honor. It appears on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, the suspect's car was orbiting Europa, in clear violation of the directive to leave this one moon alone.

    • by mjwx (966435)
      There already is an after market for re-programming ECU's.

      I doubt these boxes will be tamper proof in the slightest, car manufactures have a long history of picking the cheapest possible way to comply with legal requirements and as always, if you have physical access to a system it's already compromised.
    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      Orbiting, hell!? Have you even SEEN the place!? YOU CAN SEE THE RUTS FROM SPACE!

      Damned kids, tell em to stay away from developing ecosystems, and what do they do? Go muddin', that's what!

      (/joke)

  • I wonder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    when will americans well... complain about something? When they pass a law saying that your first born daughter must lose her virginity at age 7 to the president?

    I don't know... I haven't been in the US for over 15 years now, but this bullshit I read... It makes you people look like meekest lot out there. And then I read comments about americans laughing at the chaos in brazil. You people should be doing that 24/7, instead of clapping, laughing, stuffing your faces and then changing the channel for more wra

  • ,,,but he got one thing wrong. its not the government who is watching us its corporate America.

    im not sure it that's an improvement or not.

    • just the government collecting data by proxy, just one secret court order away from retrieving your "business records"
  • They already violate long existing basic laws in dramatic fashion (4th amendment much?) I see this as just symbolic pandering when a single secret order from a secret court that can't be challenged because you aren't allowed to talk about it is all it takes to override even the most fundamental laws we have. Actions speak louder than words.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:25PM (#44066223) Homepage

    im certain blocking black box technology in cars has nothing to do with, say, the potential to correct a politicians statements after the fact [yahoo.com]

  • So when the government tracks your every move without your knowledge or consent, that's okay. When private companies do it letting you know beforehand in a written contract, that's very very wrong.

    brb.. ears bleeding...

  • I keep hearing about how important my privacy is, but next to the last 30 years of declining wages it just sorta seems like a drop of piss in the 'ole bucket. I mean, what good is privacy if I'm so poor I'm easily oppressed through economic means? It just seems like we're all ignoring the elephant in the room on stuff like wealth inequality, banking deregulation, workers rights issues, etc... Why does this matter enough that it makes national news for months when the Wisconsin union busting is long forgotte
    • Whoops, meant to write, 'Last 30 years of declining wages'. But the next 30 years of declining wages don't look too hot either. Oh, and there was an article in WaPo a few days ago talking about a major shift in wages: employers cutting salaries instead of just waiting for inflation to do the dirty work for 'em. That didn't even make front page. I read about it from Fark, and even then only because it fit the 'old an busted/new hotness' Fark meme the mods love so much.
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:21PM (#44066543)

    Instead of making little piss-ant changes that affect only specific and limited circumstances, let's make a strong amendment to property law as a pile driver through all the non-ownership bullshit that's been plaguing us for the past 15-20 years.

    If I am making a purchase as a private person (ie: not a business), whatever I've bought is mine. I own it 100%, it's my goddamn property and I will do whatever I fucking want with it (within written law of course)

    No amount of shrinkwrap, ckickwrap, stick-on contracts, implied or non-negotiated "agreements" can change that. Contracts, usage policies and EULAs in which you had no bargaining or direct input are automatically null and void.

    Any attempt by a manufacturer or producer to actively restrict, limit or deny my access to my own property, whether it be a needlessly fortified mechanism or an encrypted system to which I'm not provided the key, is met with swift punishment. The process for customers to address their grievances should be streamlined and available to the general public with minimal expense to the individual.

    Hey, I can dream of a time when corporations won't be the government's puppet master, can't I?

    • by khchung (462899)

      If I am making a purchase as a private person (ie: not a business), whatever I've bought is mine. I own it 100%, it's my goddamn property and I will do whatever I fucking want with it (within written law of course)

      No amount of shrinkwrap, ckickwrap, stick-on contracts, implied or non-negotiated "agreements" can change that. Contracts, usage policies and EULAs in which you had no bargaining or direct input are automatically null and void.

      So, can a private person, having bought something, thus owning it 100%, now sell that thing to another private person? I presume yes.

      Next, can a private person, having bought something, thus owning it 100%, now sell that thing to another private person with shrinkwrap, clickwrap, or stick-on contracts?

      If no, that means the first person really didn't own it 100%, as there is a restriction on how the way he can or cannot sell it.

      If yes, then business can sell you shrinkwrap licenses by selling through a priv

      • I realize you're trolling, but don't be ridiculous.

        When you're making a "personal sale" to someone over Craigslist, eBay, a garage sale or whatever, you're just one person and don't have the power to strongarm a buyer into one-sided "agreements" ... they'll just find what they're looking for elsewhere from one of twenty thousand other sellers.

        Large vendors, however, can feasibly do this kind of thing by virtue of their monopolies and oligopolies, which is why property law should protect us from this sort of

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:33PM (#44066605)
    ""TomTom Australia says it is planning to sell GPS data collected about its customers' journeys to road authorities and private companies even after it was forced to apologise when that same data was used by Dutch authorities to set speed traps. The revelations, revealed in The Australian Financial Review today, have caused outrage among privacy campaigners and lobby groups who believe it is now necessary for electronic devices to come with special stickers saying whether they are going to track your location and be sold to marketers. I'm starting to think that we're going to need to label every electronic item with a special sticker saying whether it's going to track your location and sell it to marketers or not. But TomTom Australia's vice-president of marketing, Chris Kearney, in a phone interview, rejected the privacy concerns and claims that TomTom was "tracking" users. He conceded TomTom was collecting real-time "timestamped GPS data" of users' journeys but said there were no privacy risks because the data was decoupled from the individual users."" http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/cartech/outrage-over-tomtom-speed-traps-for-motorists-20110506-1ebc2.html [smh.com.au]
  • WE ARE WATCHING YOU
    OH DEAR GOD, MAKE IT STOP

    Although I'd probably just use a piece of tape.


    Shut up, lameness filter. It's a joke, and the caps were a quote from the article.
  • Angry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @10:41PM (#44067007)
    It really makes me angry that we as a society have tolerated the creep of this surveillance society for so long like frogs in a pot while the temperature rises to boiling. You can argue that technology made it inevitable, and you're right, it's probably too late now to get the genie back in the bottle. No one knows history. Few people have actually read "1984". There should've been laws against this passed two decades ago, but noooo, it was sold to us as security, and people will fall over themselves to trade freedom for that.
  • Congress has REQUIRED black boxes in every vehicle since 1996 with the introduction of OBD-II. In particular, the freeze frame functionality, which captures all the data leading up to an accident. Ugh.

    • Does this mean all cars since 1996 have black boxes? I installed a new wiring harness in a 2000 model and there was no black box, unless it is powered by a Mr. Fusion I overlooked.
      • "Black box" is a misnomer. All of the powertrain and safety ECUs in the car (there's over a dozen in modern vehicles, not including the several dozen other miscellaneous ECUs) have had the functionality built into their software as part of OBD-II compliance since 96. Airbag ECU, Traction control, Anti-lock brakes, Transmission, Engine, power steering, etc. All of them record data upon a sensor fault (e.g. Impact in a collision).

        Fun fact: nearly half of the software in some ECUs is dedicated to OBD-II compli

  • Television finally watch you?

  • Motor insurance companies in England are starting to offer lower premiums for people willing to have installed, black box recorders "to monitor their driving behaviour". This is supposed to encourage better driving (how??) so those who volunteer for this before it becomes mandatory can get discounts of up to 20% on top of their no-claims renewals.

    What they don't tell you is that whenever the car has power going through its battery, these things have an always-on connection to the cell networks, with a GPS l

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday June 21, 2013 @02:48AM (#44068029) Homepage

    Constant remote reporting of vehicle location via OnStar, etc. - bad.

    Record of speed, braking, etc. for the last few seconds before airbag deployment, readable only if someone plugs a reader into the wreckage - probably OK.

  • The only footing I see here in the black box favor is it is monitoring what you do on a public street (which 99% of people are driving on 99.9% of the time).
  • End Run (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:39AM (#44068947)
    It will not be very long now until all insurance companies require you to plug their black box into your OBD II port or they won't cover you at all. And given that insurance companies are about the lowest form of life, they won't blink before handing over data from your car (in their box remember) to any official that asks. So as usual, this legislative Kabuki dance won't solve anything.
  • Hired a car the other car; had the 'all singing & dancing' integrated GPS, bluetooth 'infotainment' thingie.

    Fired up the music; car's storage already full of thousands of songs...
    Fired up the navigation; history full of previous hirers departures & destination points, plus route details.
    (Don't know what the "Blue Angel Club" is, but I think I can guess...)
    Fired up the phone app; car full of contact names & addresses, helpfully cross-linked to navi history with previous routes & times.

    So, in

  • Mike Capuano is an interesting guy; and I am not just saying that because I met and hung out with his son at a wrestling tournament back in high school.

    He was mayor of the city I grew up in, and I remember being totally pissed at the abuse of power when a porn video store opened up, he got is panties in a bunch and stationed a marked police cruiser in front of the place 24/7.

    That left a sour taste in my mouth but, I later (after he moved up to federal office) saw him talking positively about civil liberties

  • If the DVR sees me flipping it off every time a commercial comes on, it may realize that I hate commercials and will stop playing them, lol.
  • Too bad nobody will be watching the payoffs to the CONgressMEN to look the other way and let be ratified.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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