Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Black Boxes In Cars Raise Privacy Concerns

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the you-bet-they-do dept.

Government 297

hessian writes "In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers to include event data recorders — better known as 'black boxes' — in all new cars and light trucks. But the agency is behind the curve. Automakers have been quietly tucking the devices, which automatically record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years. Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said that he wasn't speeding and that he was wearing his seat belt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria's data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling more than 100 mph and Murray wasn't belted in."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So wait now (1, Insightful)

AdamRich (2790901) | about 2 years ago | (#42224543)

The guy broke the law, tried to lie about it and now that's called privacy concern? Oh the hypocrisy.

Look, US can be a little old on those things. That's why I live in Europe where people are actually held responsible for their actions. You don't get to say it's a privacy concern if you go around driving over people and shoot them with a shotgun!

You know what, if you kill a guy with your car at least take responsibility and try to work it out with the police. Don't lie about it, you have no shame!

Re:So wait now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224575)

I agree that the example given is crap but there can be genuine issues around under what circumstances the data can be issued and by whom - remember that the US has no proper data protection laws, it's basically a free for all.

Re:So wait now (3, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | about 2 years ago | (#42224685)

If you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide. Now show me your identity papers and PICK UP THAT CAN!!!

Euros are so used to being "subjects" rather than citizens they don't understand that freedom means you shouldn't have to submit to constant surveillance.

Important difference (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224831)

The actions you take in your car bear a much higher risk if KILLING ME than the actions you take inside your home.

While most people don't secretly build bombs in their homes and blow themselves and their neighbors up, many, many people exercise negligence while driving which does kill (or badly injure) their neighbors (the highest cause of death is driving through your neighborhood).

So, this difference in risk and consequences justifies a difference in handling.

As a good driver who has been victimized by a bad driver who broke the law, crashed into me, lied about it, and managed to get ME ticketed for it, I am happy to accept a black box in my car. It can be used to demonstrate my innocence, and hopefully to prevent other drivers from driving as badly as they do.

I love my right to privacy, and I love YOUR right to privacy, in our homes and on our computers. But not while barreling around on public roads.
 

Re:Important difference (4, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42225123)

So you're willing to give up your freedom for security? Ben Franklin had a saying for you.

Re:Important difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225337)

No, he's saying he wants people to be accountable for their actions.

Re:So wait now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224819)

I've been collecting data on you for years, Mr. Anonymous Coward...

Re:So wait now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224583)

The guy broke the law, tried to lie about it and now that's called privacy concern? Oh the hypocrisy. Look, US can be a little old on those things. That's why I live in Europe where people are actually held responsible for their actions. You don't get to say it's a privacy concern if you go around driving over people and shoot them with a shotgun! You know what, if you kill a guy with your car at least take responsibility and try to work it out with the police. Don't lie about it, you have no shame!

just curious, do americans go to .eu and .co.uk web sites and bitch about how it's so much nicer the way america does things? why do you come to a us-centric site and whine about how much better Europe is? obviously you don't like Europe's web sites.

Re:So wait now (5, Insightful)

Cley Faye (1123605) | about 2 years ago | (#42224629)

- Last time I checked it wasn't slashdot.us either
- Yes, even americans do wander in some "foreign" websites (as if it meant anything on internet) and voice their opinions. What's wrong with it either way ?

Re:So wait now (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224731)

Last time I checked it wasn't slashdot.us either

Did you bother to read the Slashdot FAQ? Slashdot absolutely is a US-centric site. It calls itself a US-centric site. It is hosted in the USA. It is owned by a US company.

I swear, complete and total ignorance about a subject AND being too fucking lazy to spend a whole 30 seconds looking it up never seems to stop anybody from opening their fucking mouths. No, your ignorance is not as good as my informed opinion. Too bad if you somehow think that's inappropriate or out of order, its the only way it should be.

Re:So wait now (0, Flamebait)

AdamRich (2790901) | about 2 years ago | (#42224767)

What's up with the US people being so self-centric? Other people in the world have no problem connecting with each other and disgussing with them like proper adult beings. Yet somehow US people have huge problem with this? We are used to dealing with foreign people. We can deal with foreign people. Why cannot US people?

Wow every American huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224989)

Just look at what you wrote, think about the meaning you were apparently trying to convey, then about what meaning was actually conveyed.

America's a big place with lots of different people. Some of them are interested in the wider world, some aren't. I've met some of the most ignorant (racist) and provincial people in Europe, but I don't extrapolate that to EVERY EUROPEAN.

Re:Wow every American huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225241)

It's not his fault. He's British. He was using the royal "we".

Take your european haughtiness (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225365)

And shove it up your ass. The U.S. operates this way because, and I'll point it out since you can't remember your own contintent's history, tyrants used to dictate our every move from 2,000 miles away, almost 300 years ago. We have certain freedoms which protect individual rights because of our experience with their abuse. Let's also point out that EUROPE is PARTICULARLY NEW on the INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS front. They couldn't completely come to terms with the concept until the 1950s European Convention on Human Rights was convened and votes to enact a large set of human rights regulations through out it's member countries.

By the way, we still don't trust high and mighty assholes that live 2,000 miles away.

Re:So wait now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225049)

Slashdot absolutely is a US-centric site
But in practice it's not. Look at the font page: half of the stories are non-US.

Re:So wait now (4, Informative)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42224653)

Not all Americans are egotistical jerks. Just the lower...I'd say 7% or so? Pretty much anyone who shows up on Maury or Jerry Springer.

Re:So wait now (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224811)

Not all Americans are egotistical jerks. Just the lower...I'd say 70% or so? Pretty much anyone who shows up on Maury or Jerry Springer.

FTFY

Re:So wait now (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 2 years ago | (#42224681)

Welcome to the internet.

Re:So wait now (1)

jafiwam (310805) | about 2 years ago | (#42224689)

Because in a lot of European countries he'd be arrested and jailed for not being nice, or disparaging someone or the government, or saying "Ha!" to some broad that offs herself because she can't figure out how to do her job.

Simply put, the US won't put them in jail for exercising free speech.

Re:So wait now (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42224791)

Simply put, the US won't put them in jail for exercising free speech.

Simply put, the US is in no position to lecture anyone about incarceration rates [wikipedia.org] .

Re:So wait now (1, Offtopic)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42225153)

That's because we spend billions on the "war against drugs" and incarcerate anyone that walked by a pot plant.

We should be doing the opposite - the government should be selling drugs, the only legal seller, and put all the pushers, dealers, and cartels out of business. It'd make money, and save lots of lives in the process, with the added bonus of removing the pushers from the scene so there would hopefully be fewer kids on drugs (selling drugs would still get you landed in jail) At least in theory that would work. Certainly better to try than the current wasted effort.

Re:So wait now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225167)

I was under the impression that those rates are largely due to our strange intolerance for people inhaling plants and not speech related. I could very well be wrong, though.

Re:So wait now (0, Offtopic)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#42225321)

Simply put, the US is in no position to lecture anyone about incarceration rates [wikipedia.org].

Simply put, you just changed the subject from one which many Europeans and Westerners would rather avoid, limits on free speech [usatoday.com] , to the ever popular topic of US prison population [youtube.com] (Why do they have so many people in jail when crime rates are dropping? Duh!)

Why free speech is baffling to many [cnn.com]
European Free Speech Under Attack [wsj.com]
Are there limits to freedom of speech? [debatingeurope.eu]
Muslim Protests Show Limits of Free Speech [spiegel.de]

Re:So wait now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224725)

just curious, do americans go to .eu and .co.uk web sites and bitch about how it's so much nicer the way america does things? why do you come to a us-centric site and whine about how much better Europe is? obviously you don't like Europe's web sites.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/12/08/0343239/some-uk-councils-barred-from-using-govt-vehicle-database

Does that answer your question?

Re:So wait now (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 years ago | (#42224587)

The guy broke the law, tried to lie about it and now that's called privacy concern? Oh the hypocrisy.

He's a politician. It's not hypocrisy; it's simply his preferred form of reality.

Re:So wait now (5, Informative)

mariox19 (632969) | about 2 years ago | (#42224603)

I live in the United States, where people enjoy the right to not testify against themselves. That means nothing if a person is forced to pay for and travel with a device that will record possibly incriminating testimony which must then be surrendered to the courts. Sorry, but the right to be free from self-incrimination is the historically progressive innovation here. What you're talking about belongs to the days of the Inquisition. From the way you tell it, it seems like it's the Old World that's a little behind on the times.

Re:So wait now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224729)

Sorry, but the vehicle owners should have read the EULA that came with their car. They simply could have chosen to buy another car. And, yes, that is a software analogy used in a story about cars. Take that!

Re:So wait now (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42224859)

The so-called choice to buy another car is moot in this regard once all car manufacturers have them.

Re:So wait now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224843)

I live in the United States, where people enjoy the right to not testify against themselves. That means nothing if a person is forced to pay for and travel with a device that will record possibly incriminating testimony which must then be surrendered to the courts. Sorry, but the right to be free from self-incrimination is the historically progressive innovation here. What you're talking about belongs to the days of the Inquisition. From the way you tell it, it seems like it's the Old World that's a little behind on the times.

In this case the vehicle was not owned by him, it is owned by the employer i.e. the government who has every right to sue and claim damages of their property and also have the right to instal any sort of device on their car without requiring the consent but the after disclosing the fact to the user.

Re:So wait now (2, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#42224899)

Okay, so you reckon that the evidence he was speeding and not wearing a seatbelt is "self-incrimination"? So by the same token, if I cut your throat does that mean that the knife I have that's smeared with your blood is inadmissible because handing it over would be "self-incrimination"?

Good to know...

Re:So wait now (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42225131)

No, but if the knife was, by law, required to keep a record of everything it was used to cut and the police were allowed to come into my kitchen and check its records, then yes.

Re:So wait now (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#42225207)

While I treasure the right to not testify against yourself, I am also a firm believer in truth. I don't mean that in any philosophical sense, I mean facts of the physical world. Your speed at impact is such a fact.

I believe that in all walks of life, we are better off if we follow the facts. While your personal interest in a lawsuit is to get the best result for yourself, the social purpose is to arrive at a fair judgement. And that begins with establishing the facts.

The problem with the inquisition and torture and self-incrimination is that under pressure, people will say a lot of things that they later regret. Basically, apply enough physical pain to the body of someone and he will not only admit to having been the real murderer of both Kennedy and Julius Cesar, he will also gladly invent details describing how he did it. To a lesser extend, psychological pressure does the same.

The social reason we have the right to not testify against yourself is that we've learnt that such testimony is incredibly unreliable. Just like eye-witnesses, btw., which only make or break a case in movies. So the social reason for the ban on self-incrimination is not to the advantage of the defendant, but to the advantage of the trial and its result.

Yeah, sorry for the wall of text, but it's necessary to explain why I don't consider factual information as self-incrimination. More facts instead of hearsay and his-words-against-yours will make cases easier and more just.

Re:So wait now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225289)

I live in the United States, where people enjoy the right to not testify against themselves. That means nothing if a person is forced to pay for and travel with a device that will record possibly incriminating testimony which must then be surrendered to the courts. Sorry, but the right to be free from self-incrimination is the historically progressive innovation here. What you're talking about belongs to the days of the Inquisition. From the way you tell it, it seems like it's the Old World that's a little behind on the times.

The US Fifth Amendment gives you the right to keep your mouth shut, which he did not do. He opened his mouth and lied (to the public and the police), which is a 'hindering an investigation' charge or some such. If he had kept his mouth shut there would not have been a problem.

In general case, you own the car and therefore the black box. Since it is your stuff, you would have US Fourth Amendment protection against the police just taking it. The scenario you're complaining about is like downloading something illegal, and then complaining that the police got a warrant for your computer/s, where they found information to incriminate you.

So yes, you are right, black boxes can incriminate you. But so can carrying a cell phone around which puts you at the scene of a crime, so does gunshot or blood residue on your clothes, so do your e-mails and other electronic logs, so do your bank records. All of these latter things can "record possibly incriminating testimony", and all can be gotten by the appropriate warrant. And now black boxes in cars can be added to a long list of things that can incriminate you.

Now if you want to argue that data collection you be limited to only "x" minutes back in time, or that one should be able to press a button and (properly) have the data wiped, then that's a reasonable argument to make. But to say "we shouldn't implement X because of privacy/tracking concerns", then there's a whole host of things that you would have to live without in the modern age.

And as a side note, Europe has much better data protection laws than the US. I think most reasonable countries now have self-incrimination laws, but arguing the US better protects its citizens is probably not a way for winning a debate giving all the history of NSA/DoJ/etc. warrantless snooping that has occurred over the decades. In theory the laws may be awesome, but in practice things haven't turned out that way. Post-WW2, the US has probably been more invasive than most other European country.

Re:So wait now (1, Troll)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about 2 years ago | (#42225349)

Compare it to a flight data recorder. The pilots surrender that specific freedom to be able to fly and earn their wage for their chosen profession. They know about it, and they willingly accept it.

The only thing wrong here is that the public isn't generally "in the know" about these, but the premise is the same: you are using a federally funded system of roads, there are requirements for its use, public safety is involved, so it is not unreasonable to add on a requirement that a car data recorder be in place so long as the driver is aware it is there. If you don't like it, don't drive.

It's just like speeding, or having insurance, or seat belts, or having a driver's license; you agree to these terms to be able to use public roads.

Re:So wait now (2)

Ritchie70 (860516) | about 2 years ago | (#42225413)

In the case of Lt. Gov. Murray, it was a vehicle owned by his employer.

Employers routinely monitor the driving habits of the drivers of their vehicles. Ask any trucking or delivery company.

There is no privacy concern or fifth amendment issue in his case.

As a side comment, it's pretty amazing that you can crash a car at 100 mph, not wearing a seat belt,and say anything afterward, isn't it? Twenty years ago he would have been dead and none of his "scandal" would have happened except an accident investigation and a funeral.

Re:So wait now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224609)

If I built a massive camera/satelite/microphone bug network to track your every move and one day you went and committed a horrible crime, causing me to reveal my evidence (and how I got it). It would still be an invasion of privacy. The existance of the crime does not change whether or not it was an invasion. Same logic applies here (save that, of course, this is not so clear cut an invasion)-- if the devices are an invasion of privacy, the crime does not affect this.

Re:So wait now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225345)

99% of the data recorded in these things would be from actions committed in a public space. How does an expectation of privacy come into it?

Re:So wait now (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#42224631)

>You don't get to say it's a privacy concern if you go around driving over people and shoot them with a shotgun!

Oh bullshit. This has nothing to do with one guy that got caught in a lie. If true this is an extreme privacy concern. The government has no right to know where I've been or what I've been up to unless I want to tell them.

Re:So wait now (1, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42224897)

I think you're taking things a wee bit too far. Cars can have black boxes, that's IMHO good. If, during a legal proceeding, someone subpoenas said black box, that's usually perfectly within the bounds of the legal process in the U.S. Unless the court seals the records (rare for traffic cases), everything that came up and got admitted into the record is a public record. It's not any different than subpoenaing human witnesses of the accident.

Re:So wait now (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#42225081)

>It's not any different than subpoenaing human witnesses of the accident. It's completely different: there's no law requiring a witness to sit in on my driving.

It is a privacy concern, yes (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224755)

Not so much this guy. He drove a government-owned vehicle and has a public function so his duties include giving a good example, and so he has less expectation of privacy. And yes, I'd be inclined to allow law enforcement access to such data in the case of a deadly incident. Though "breaking the law" is debatable as road rules generally aren't "law", merely rules. Yes, there's usually a difference, though I haven't the faintest about the details of the road code(s) relevant to this.

But there is a privacy concern, and if you ignore the guy and his incident in TFA, it's pretty clear later on what the problem is. It's about adding recording devices to cars without the owners knowledge or consent. That was a problem before the law requiring this came into force, and it's still a problem now. There is also the problem of reliability of the things that may or may not be quite the same as the perception (electronic thus infallible, just like "biometrics" is generally taken to be infallible but is anything but). Aeronautical black boxes are tightly regulated. These things, not so much.

What if the storage fails in a way that shows incorrect data and you do end up in an accident when only driving 50 but the device showing you've been zigzagging and doing 90 (which you were just before it burned out, but on a privately owned racecourse a couple weeks prior)? Or what if someone manipulated the recorder to frame you? It's unlikely, but not impossible, and if this sort of thing is going to be used as evidence against the owner of the vehicle it had better have safeguards and tamper evidence mechanisms built-in.

And then there's the question of who owns the data and who may access it when, at what cost, how, that sort of thing. On top of that there's the problem of various promises made ("only use for law enforcement, honest!") when such promises are routinely broken in similar situations elsewhere.

So yeah, plenty of problems with this practice. The example isn't a particularly good one, but laws turning your car into evidence against you is a bit much, innit? Then just gimme a robotic car and have someone else be liable for its mistakes, thanks.

Welcome to MA (5, Informative)

sorensenbill (1931240) | about 2 years ago | (#42224559)

I was born and raised in Massachusetts and this is just the culture of the State Police. Anyone who regularly drives on the highways has been passed by a cruiser with it's lights off doing 90 in the passing lane. After his first lies didn't pan out he retcon'd a new story about being asleep that fit the black box data.

Re:Welcome to MA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224617)

All cops do that in every state. And don't get me started on the cruisers with blue lights and "Homeland Security" on their sides. Their job seems to be to just race around and make a nuisance of themselves.

If you're not cop, you're little people.

Don't forget the Registry Cops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224699)

Why exactly does the office that hands out license plates need a large armed force driving patrol cars? Only in Massachusetts.

Exculpatory evidence? (3, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 years ago | (#42224573)

Could it not be used in the defense's favor as well? For example, to prove you came to a full stop or weren't speeding? You'd need a way to collect and save teh data so it's both available and admissible; but a sword can cut two ways.

Re:Exculpatory evidence? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224639)

Could it not be used in the defense's favor as well? For example, to prove you came to a full stop or weren't speeding? You'd need a way to collect and save teh data so it's both available and admissible; but a sword can cut two ways.

The defense is not given full access to the data ,only to data that has been selected and processed by the government.

In East Europe it's common practice to use a recording camera device to capture the traffic situation. Such recording cameras is often mandatory by insurance companies. That is why we have all these hilarious youtube videos of Russian bad drivers.

There is no privacy anymore.

Re:Exculpatory evidence? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#42225227)

The defense is not given full access to the data ,only to data that has been selected and processed by the government.

[citation needed]

Anyone with a diagnostic cable and the car has access to the data.

Re:Exculpatory evidence? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#42224641)

it does work in the defence's favour too - you can prove you hit the brakes, and the speed you were travelling at, so if you hit someone who jumped into the road in front of you, you'll be able to say you weren't running them down.

Collection of data for insurance purposes is another matter though, that's more a way for a corporate to wheedle out of their financial responsibilities than it is to keep the roads safe.

Not everything is a privacy concern (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224579)

It is simple. As long as the black box does not automatically transmit the data, and as long as there are rules who, how and when they can access it (court order?). Then there is no privacy violation.

Re:Not everything is a privacy concern (5, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#42224657)

Those rules will change. For safety. Always for safety. First it will be unavailable. Then it will be logged for "simplicity and ease of access" but only by a court order. Then a court order will become easier to get. Then it will be rubber stamped. Then any police department will be able to access the data.

And don't say "slippery slope fallacy". It's only a fallacy when there's no clear way for it to progress that way. Just like security cameras, traffic cameras, and phone records are sliding that way black boxes will.

Re:Not everything is a privacy concern (4, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 2 years ago | (#42224907)

Recently Germany installed some plate reading cameras near border with Poland to help looking for stolen cars. It didn't yet catch any stolen car, but did catch two drivers without valid insurance. Your theory is already happening.

Re:Not everything is a privacy concern (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#42225243)

And don't say "slippery slope fallacy". It's only a fallacy when there's no clear way for it to progress that way.

Last I checked, search warrants, prison terms and lots of other things have not slipped down the slope.

Just because you can imagine the slope does not mean it is slippery. It is good to be aware and cautious. Being paranoid and calling every change a slippery slope is overdoing it.

Re:Not everything is a privacy concern (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about 2 years ago | (#42225361)

Those rules will change. For safety. Always for safety.

Also to fight terrorists.

They're just helping the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224595)

By stimulating the market for classic cars.

No black box in a Shelby roadster.

Re:They're just helping the economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224623)

By stimulating the market for classic cars.

No black box in a Shelby roadster.

Yeah how the hell did our parents and grandparents EVER manage to SURVIVE without a ton of electronic devices monitoring, tracking, and collecting data about their lives?!

Re:They're just helping the economy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224825)

They didn't. That's why life expectancy was so short.

I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (4, Interesting)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224687)

Okay, let me break this down for you easily.

1. Car makers can put whatever devices in their cars they want. It's up to you, the buyer, to either not buy cars with black boxes OR to petition your local/state/federal politicians to make selling cars with black boxes illegal. You have either choice, it's up to you.

2. Insurance companies can require black boxes in cars if they were factory installed in order to be insured. Though there may be laws that they might be breaking because many states require auto insurance, but I'm not a lawyer. Either way, again, two options: vote with your wallet or make this practice illegal by approaching your politicians.

3. The aforementioned black box information does not have to be admissible in court for criminal penalties, but insurance companies could black ball you for information obtained from the box. Also, affected victims do have the 100% right to go after you for CIVIL penalties related to any crashes. The only time the 'government' matters is when there is involvement of criminal penalty. A civil court could mandate that the black box information be passed over to the victimized parties for review, or the data retrieved from therein.

I like how people talk about 'right to privacy' but each example I've mentioned still falls 100% within the boundaries of privacy laws AND more importantly, the US Constitution. Remember, such 'rights' are only granted against GOVERNMENT, but private parties can require whatever the hell they want. You can bitch and moan up a storm about right to privacy and whatnot but remember, private parties have far more leniency compared to personal information. For example, a government might require a warrant to obtain information on you ; but a PI can do whatever they please. The only reason a PI is limited is because someone somewhere said it was fucked up and got laws added.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (2)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224697)

Just as an addition here, remember this the next time you vote and you vote for candidates that want to "reduce the size of government" and extoll the virtues of private enterprise. As you are learning, you really don't have a choice with a black box situation. If all the car manufacturers install them, and you need a car, what recourse do you have? If you remove said box and it violates the manufacturer's warranty and they no longer service/repair your vehicle, whose fault is that? Not theirs. Who will you turn to for resolution? The government. But if the government is 'limited in power' and 'reduced', what exactly will they be able to do as a 3rd party in this situation?

Think about that very, very carefully.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (2)

mariox19 (632969) | about 2 years ago | (#42224743)

The point isn't the black box itself; the point is the government being able to subpoena it to use as evidence against you. There's nothing wrong with a manufacturer using the information for its own purposes. As to insurance companies using the data, let's put that argument aside, because it's a separate argument from the one about government using the data. The central question is the one concerning self-incrimination in a court of law. That's the use black boxes can be put to, and using them for that purpose violates the principles of American government. That's got nothing to do with private enterprise.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224771)

I don't agree, and largely because you don't have a 'right' to drive within the United States, which is likely where they'll draw any legal help for challenges within the US. You also have limited rights in public places. What's the difference between a black box in the car and investigators measuring your travel speed using a camera from a gas station across the street? Or even in the same parking lot?

It's very similar amounts of information, and if one of my loved ones was killed by someone that was lying in court I'd want to know the information as well. I'm sure you would, also.

What we're establishing here is that "swearing on the bible" is not enough to go on with regards to perjury, and I'm okay with that.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224795)

You are a complete idiot. Another prime example of some basement dwelling glue sniffer stating opinion as fact.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224845)

Says the Anonymous Coward. While I'm not a lawyer and can't cite specific references it doesn't mean I'm not familiar with how these things happen. It's similar to people sharing information about traffic violations and if the "cop doesn't show up, you don't have to pay the fine." Sure, it's not specific legal advice but that doesn't mean the person doesn't know what they're talking about.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (3, Insightful)

Jonathan_S (25407) | about 2 years ago | (#42224909)

I don't agree, and largely because you don't have a 'right' to drive within the United States, which is likely where they'll draw any legal help for challenges within the US. You also have limited rights in public places. What's the difference between a black box in the car and investigators measuring your travel speed using a camera from a gas station across the street? Or even in the same parking lot?

I'd say about the same difference between unmarked cars following your car around 24/7 and a GPS tracking device.

Yet the Supreme Court unanimously found that there was a significant difference in that scenario; that the later required a warrant (while the former didn't)

Sometime technology makes something so easy or so covert to widely accomplish that it, in practice, makes it effectively a change in kind not just degree. When that happens laws are written, or courts can find, that because something has become far easier to do that additional protections are required to maintain an acceptable level of practical freedom.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224963)

I agree completely, but the end result of the situation is that things are inherently legal until proven illegal, but more importantly each step of the entire process has to be established legally:

1. Is it legal for the recorders to be installed, configured, and enabled in vehicles?
2. Is it legal for insurance companies to require these devices to be installed, configured, and enabled?
3. Is it legal for insurance companies to retrieve this information? To share this information? And under what circumstances can they do so?
4. Is it legal for the government to require these devices to be installed, configured, and enabled?
5. Under what circumstances may the government retrieve this information? How can they share it?
6. Can the information be used in both civil and criminal penalties?

Each of these are extremely valid points that no doubt as time goes on will be asked and resolved in court, but that doesn't necessarily mean the entire process has to stop until they're answered, at least not without some sort of major challenge.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224803)

Furthermore, this has long been established in the courts. You're saying that under criminal penalty, investigators do not have the ability to enter your home with appropriate warrants to retrieve information relevant to their case? It's easy to argue against such possibilities when you're on the receiving end of the search.

I'm not saying such information should be available to RFID to a police officer that pulls you over for speeding, but the data should be available for review in criminal cases with subpoenas.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42224981)

Wait a minute. First of all, it's not just any government that can subpoena things. It only comes through a court process. Secondly, subpoenas work both ways: both the prosecution and defense can subpoena to the same extent. Thirdly, equal access to evidence by both the prosecution and the defense is guaranteed, and most judges can put you in a lot of hot water if you're interfering with access to evidence. Another misunderstanding here is that of self-incrimination. Self incrimination is about what you voluntarily do or what you're compelled to do. Handing over evidence that was subpoenaed is, as far as I know, has long history of not being considered self-incriminatory. Just because there is evidence that can be used against you, doesn't mean your right to not-self-incriminate is being broken. IANAL, but a black box is just like skid marks on the road. You'd be considered quite silly if you tried to argue that skid marks are self-incriminating. They are out there for everyone to see. Same with a black box. You crash, your car automatically can become evidence, and it can be used as such, just as skid marks on the road, etc. Just because it's a digital data recorder and it's mentioned on slashdot doesn't make it special.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42225213)

You mean, voting for a candidate who wants to reduce the size of government, by, for example, taking away the authority of the NHTSA to require every auto-manufacturer to include a black box will somehow make it more likely that auto-manufacturers will include black boxes and give you no recourse?
Your argument makes no sense in a story about the government requiring a black box in every new car.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#42224857)

You still think that you can vote against something that companies want? I love your child like innocent view of the world.
This will not be about what people think or want, but what companies want.
You are powerless as your vote will be either with the companies who are for it or with the companies who are against it. At no moment will you be able to vote for what is good for you.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224911)

I don't agree here. For the most part the problems we're seeing surrounding voting is a problem with the enforcement of the system, not the theory of the system itself. When you vote people into office you do so in hoping that they represent your viewpoints and those that live within their respective areas. But they are only human, and they don't *have* to fully represent their people. They just have to represent themselves, which you hope is an idea that you would share.

The system is working pretty much as designed, but for the most part people spend more time on sites such as Slashdot rather than talking with their elected officials. It's easier to bitch about say, a road not being paved, than it is to go out of your way to ensure it gets paved. (FYI, I have done this in the past, and the total time from initial e-mail to the road being fixed was about a week).

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (4, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#42225013)

Remember, such 'rights' are only granted against GOVERNMENT, but private parties can require whatever the hell they want.

That is so much bullshit. [slashdot.org]

You have a right to privacy, and it is the government's remit to protect that right against all who would trample it, just as you can't sell yourself into slavery, enter a contract that obliges your vote, or dictate that an employee or renter go to church. And with your examples, you don't get to put an asterisk and say "except where denied by law" when you say stupid shit like that, it's an absurdity. It's saying "this categorical statement is true, except where it isn't".

And the government didn't give us that right, it exists simply because we demand it of them. It's funny to see the libertarian herp-a-derps get that backward, treating the Constitution like it was a magic freedom fountain from which the rights flow.

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225187)

It's funny to see the libertarian herp-a-derps get that backward, treating the Constitution like it was a magic freedom fountain from which the rights flow.

Libertarians believe the one role of government is to defend our rights against others through law. It may be the only thing that non-anarachist libertarians can agree on. If you actually read the Constitution, you can see that it is a document about the role, scope, and form of government. I've never heard a libertarian say anything regarding rights and the constitution except to say "the government can't do X because it isn't allowed or is strictly forbidden by the Constitution."

And the government didn't give us that right, it exists simply because we demand it of them.

So if we demand the government take away your rights on the grounds that you believe in mob rule, you no longer have the right to live? Or is it, as actual libertarians believe, that our rights are innate but we must fight often fight for those rights?

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#42225285)

as actual libertarians believe, that our rights are innate

What, like souls? You believe in magic?

Did these rights exist when human society was pre-literate, and the only government was tribal strong men? Did these rights exist before we evolved the ability to speak?

When the bear has its mouth around your skull, do you protest about the violation of your natural rights?

Re:I love the 'privacy' arguments here. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42225199)

You failed to address the main issue of the article. You know where the NHTSA is expected to pass a regulation requiring these in every car. What is troubling about this is that it is not Congress passing a law mandating these. If Congress was passing a law mandating these, you could raise up a movement to vote out of office everyone who voted for it. However, since it is a bureaucracy that is doing it it is much harder to get at those responsible. A congressman who actually supports this regulation could introduce a bill to overturn this regulation that contained "poison-pill" provisions sure to make it unpassable. Then if you try to bring this regulation up against him in an election, he can say, "Look, I introduced a bill to overturn this regulation," even though he knew that there was no chance his bill would pass and he did not desire his bill to pass. That is the problem with the place we are with government regulations. It is too easy for our elected representatives to say, "Yes, you are right. That is a bad regulation, but my hands are tied. The bureaucrats were given the authority to make that regulation and I cannot muster enough of my colleagues support to change the law." When in fact, they have no interest whatsoever in changing the law.

Reminds me of an astute comment years ago... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224691)

Paraphrased from a decade ago on Slashdot:

"That's the downside to driving around a 1500 lb chunk of steel and aluminum. You aren't allowed to hit anyone with it."

Of course.. (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#42224745)

...of course, it becomes a 'privacy concern' to the government, when a government official is the one whose 'privacy' is being exposed.

You know, one of those 'elected public officials' who probably should have the least expectation of privacy from their voting public?

It's only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224773)

It really is only a matter of time before someone reverse engineers those recorders and proceeds with pushing their own data into it. It'd be fun to prime it with a speed record that draws convex shapes when plotted on a time-speed graph (with time as x-axis and speed as y-axis). Could probably prime it with an upright hand giving the middle finger for spite.

About time (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#42224787)

Dangerous driving is epidemic in the United States. This is a sensible response to a massive public health problem. What we really need is driverless cars and the abolition of consumer operation of vehicles, but in the meantime let's have:

(1) Much stricter licensing requirements, including mandatory defensive driving courses and road tests required for renewal, paid for by much higher license fees.
(2) Strict enforcement of traffic laws, including red light cameras and speeding cameras.
(3) A complete end to "right turn on red".
(4) Immediate loss of license for drivers at fault in any injury accident.

Driving is a licensed activity, like piloting an airplane. There is no expectation of privacy.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224867)

Yes, let's legislate countless people into using inadequate public transportation (if it even exists in their area) and subject them to the ridiculously high costs of taxis in residential areas. We can also make a profit for the local municipalities by using speeding cameras that automatically ticket everyone who is driving with the flow of traffic (and force them off the road by increasing their insurance rates to even higher amounts). And while we're at it let's push the auto industry into a recession.

At least the few remaining drivers will encounter very little traffic. Your utopia needs a little fine tuning.

Re:About time (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#42225053)

Yes, let's legislate countless people into using inadequate public transportation (if it even exists in their area)

I forgot: (5) Steeply increase gasoline taxes, with the funds earmarked for public transportation.

Re:About time (2)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42224885)

I agree to a point, but for the most part some of your recommendations have to be balanced with the needs of the country. Drivers losing their licenses for injuries is a bit much considering the US as a whole has rather abysmal public transportation. A suspension of a license with remediation is fine and should be encouraged, as long as fault is established.

I disagree with the end of "right turn on red", but I do think it should be more strictly enforced. Right turn on red is AFTER STOP, but most people tend to ignore the stopping part. Again, a black box would help provide this information assuming the stop and turn was within the range of the recorder.

The one nice thing about these things is that they will help establish fault better. I'm currently involved in a traffic case right now (thank god no injuries) where a person merged into me on a road without signaling and without looking. Apparently, accidents involving "merging" are very difficult to prove fault and information like this would help determine that. For example, returning information on turning of the wheel without a blinker, etc. would be IMMENSELY helpful in these situations. I'd say a lack of using signals for turning and merging is one of the top causes of accidents within the US, they just can't really do anything about it because it's nearly impossible to prove.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224965)

No expectation of privacy?

Piloting is very different to driving cars. For one, airports are owned by corporations and regulated by government. You need an airport to operate your plane due to the laws of physics. Airports and air traffic controllers need to know where you are flying your plane so they can manage air traffic. They have a right to know where and when you are flying your plane.

What about cars? Should we have some 'car traffic controller' authority that we have to ring up or SMS or whatever to let them know when and where we are going, each time we use our cars?

This 'no expectation of privacy' nonsense is a great oversimplification of the issue. Of course I should have the expectation of not having my movements and whereabouts continuously tracked by government authorities or corporations. If I want to pop over to my friends or my mistresses place, it should be nobodies business but mine. Just because I use a public place to get there - again, those laws of physics - doesn't mean I should unilaterally surrender any and all basic right to privacy and autonomy.

Another difference is that piloting a plane is inherently more difficult than driving, and the results of even a minor error or malfunction usually lead to death. Pilot licensing is much stricter because it needs to be from a risk perspective.

Your other points are also easily debunked. Numerous studies have shown that red light cameras actually increase accidents at the intersections they are posted [motorists.org] .

Basically none of your solutions are feasible. Your overly punitive tone suggests you don't drive a car and are probably a cyclist. I'm willing to be called an idiot on that last one, but I am a betting man and I'd make that bet 'til the cows came home.

Re:About time (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#42225029)

Honestly, you'd be surprised at how easy it is to kill someone in an automobile accident, it doesn't really take much speed nor time to make it happen. It's just the results are slanted for against the receiving parties depending on those factors. You have a higher likelihood of dying in a higher speed crash, but it's not always 100%.

Re:About time (3, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42225011)

What's wrong with right turn on red? You look around, if the way is clear, you go. Simple enough.

The major difference between the European and U.S. approach is that stricter licensing laws would pretty much put a large part of population out of work. In most European cities you can live just fine without a car. For the majority of the U.S. population: forget it. You won't get your groceries, you won't get to work, you won't be able to do anything much. Sometimes you won't even be able to go for a walk.

Re:About time (1)

fitteschleiker (742917) | about 2 years ago | (#42225189)

wtf is right turn on red?
that would explain the two assholes, one after another doing "left turn on red" the other day, one after another. btw this is australia, not the rules here.

everyone in the whole intersection had a wtf moment.

don't drive overseas if you don't know the rules, coz you'll get cleaned up, and here, those cunts would have gone to jail if they had caused an accident.

Re:About time (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 2 years ago | (#42225417)

(2) Strict enforcement of traffic laws, including red light cameras and speeding cameras.

I'm all for stricter enforcement of traffic laws, but red light cameras simply don't work [schneier.com] .

Seatbelt? (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#42224817)

Looking at the picture of the car and having been in several high speed accidents I find it hard to believe he did not have his belt on. I got thrown out the back window of a Chevy Suburban in an accident where I was doing about 80mph and I got beat to hell and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. After that I started wearing my seat belt but didn't really slow down until years later. High speed accidents are unbelievably violent and often even people properly belted die or are seriously injured. I hit a guard rail at 50mph and even belted I couldn't believe how much it hurt. I had an 80 pound toolbox in the hatchback and it smashed through the backseat and crushed the passenger seat against the dash. Thankfully I was alone in the car. If this guy really wasn't wearing a seat belt then he's the luckiest SOB around.

Re:Seatbelt? (5, Interesting)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#42224889)

That's the particular problem with this 'black box' is people are going to think it's like an airplanes black box. Airplanes have people looking at them to make sure all the sensors are working. Your car, maybe once a year at inspection. I have an older car that the seat belt sensor sometimes says I'm not buckled in, which is wrong, I feel naked without the buckle on. But, if I got in a wreck and the sensor showed me not buckled in, I'd have a job of proving I was.

I have a feeling that lawyers will turn this in to a fiasco of prove your 'black box' isn't making shit up, in which they will be right to do.

Re:Seatbelt? (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#42225275)

In a well-working court, no individual piece of evidence alone is sufficient. The sum is what matters.

So if eye-witnesses say that they are sure you were driving damn fast, and the impact damage is examined by an expert who concludes you were doing at least 70, and the black box says you were driving at 74.5 at the time of impact, then the evidence is conclusive.

If the eye-witnesses say you were the same speed as everyone else, and the impact gives and estimate in line with that, while the blax-box says you were twice that, then the black-box data will likely be thrown out.

Re:Seatbelt? (1)

sgtrock (191182) | about 2 years ago | (#42225389)

What eye witnesses? In most cases the only witnesses to a car crash are the participants. Everyone else is long gone by the time the cops show up to take statements.

Personally, I have a lot more faith that an impact analysis than either of the other two options. It's going to have a lot more basis in reality than a magic black box that has gone through 10 years plus of weather extremes with no maintenance check whatsoever or any (notoriously inaccurate) eye witness account.

Re:Seatbelt? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42225027)

Agreed. The crash didn't happen at 100mph. I think he might have been driving 100mph at a point before the crash.

The important info buried in bottom of story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224847)

Wow. A government issue Ford POS can go 100 mph.

All I want... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224883)

Is an off switch. I own the car right? I can do what I want to my car within the confins of the standards/laws for operational safety (brakes, tires, lights, inspection etc...) As a monitoring device, the black box has no proactive impact on safety, so I should be able to turn it off. The result is that data will neither be available to incriminate or prove my innocence should an accident occur. Freedom to make the choices that only impact me (and please sign this waiver if you want to be my passenger, thanks...) is fair.

Que the back room deals to unnecessarily intwine the car's engine management computer with the monitoring system, because blah blah blah, so sorry its technically impossible to turn it off...

Re:All I want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224967)

Sure, you can turn it off. But then you are automatically at fault if the other guy isn't.

The ineffable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224953)

I don't think this is per se a privacy issue because I think the word "privacy" has become overloaded to express concerns about surveillence and information. A lot of people would argue that, just as one should not be held to be witness against themselves, one's everyday devices should not be allowed to inform on them without their permission, either. That one should not be monitored and surveilled unless there is specific, a priori reason. That information, no matter how innocent, is more prone to abuse the more of it there is. These are concerns that are legitimate. Some people will argue that they are not properly "privacy" concerns and dismiss them out-of-hand. But mislabeling the concerns is not to make them trivial. The dedication to "the truth" that often drives these initiatives after more data is a cover for dedication to more information. "The truth," as it were, is a derivation from data and a function of human judgment. Always has been. And so long as information flows are asymmetric and the judging humans have authority over the judged, "the truth" will naturally be biased.

Access to the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225065)

The data needs to be in an open, defined format and standard. Everyone needs to be allowed to access it(think shade tree mechanic). Law enforcement needs at minimum a court order or warrant to access the data. Get those items codified and life will be ok.

These aren't new... (1)

Pezbian (1641885) | about 2 years ago | (#42225071)

Look up Inthinc. Their stuff has been snitching on idiot truckers and Mormon missionaries alike for a while now. The difference is their stuff talks back to warn you before the cop or blacktop do.

Assumed accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225105)

Why is it assumed that the data recorded is always correct? For decades I've been driving cars with pieces of black tape over various always-on idiot lights that the dealer says he can't fix. All it takes is a dirty contact or bad connection for signals to be interrupted. Any time adverse data are found it should be mandatory to verify that that evidence is correct. Of course, that may be impossible after an accident and the verification failure will be blamed on the accident damage and the possibility that there was a prior signal fault will be ignored.

Re:Assumed accuracy (1)

fitteschleiker (742917) | about 2 years ago | (#42225351)

I want to drive around in a faulty vehicle, and it's who ever I kills problem if I get away with it. Why should I be forced to spend money?

My new car has a problem with the sensor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225129)

Every now and then the "Seatbelt not fastened" warning comes up despite the seat belt being completely secure.

Reserve rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225141)

Write "Without Prejudice" next to your signature the next time you renew your driver's license. That expresses the reservation of rights to not consent to automated enforcement.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?