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Automobile Black Box Sends Driver to Jail

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the watching-us-watching-them dept.

Privacy 825

myzor writes "This article from the Montreal Gazette reports that a driver got 18 months in jail for speeding that killed a man, after the black box in his car revealed he was going 157 km/h (98 mph) in a 50 km/h zone in downtown Montreal. The recording device, which stores data on how a car is driven in the last five seconds before a collision, showed that four seconds before impact, the driver had the gas pedal to the floor and didn't brake before impact." Reader ergo98 writes "Setting a precedent for the Canadian legal system, a Quebec man was convicted based upon the incriminating evidence found in his own car's black box." The Star also has another article looking at the issues surrounding the data recorder.

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Bye Bye Driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870158)

Headline says it all - SMaharaj

The guy that got hit deserved it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870170)

He should've looked both ways before crossing the street. Dip shit.

Re:The guy that got hit deserved it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870198)

fuck you.
that guy died cuz the other cunt was speeding.
the dead guy deserved to live

Re:The guy that got hit deserved it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870393)

the speeder has every right to speed as fast as he wants. the dead guy had NO business crossing the street.

Re:The guy that got hit deserved it. (5, Interesting)

neoform (551705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870203)

I'm guessing you don't know what downtown montreal is like, driving 157kph is insanely fast given the size of the streets here, i've never seen anyone do more than 80 downtown.

also montreal drivers know that we're in the jay-walking capital of the world.

Re:The guy that got hit deserved it. (3, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870422)

> also montreal drivers know that we're in the
> jay-walking capital of the world.

I'm just waiting for the lawyer to lay the blame on Grand Theft Auto.

That's hardly a privacy issue (4, Interesting)

mindless4210 (768563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870173)

But the groundbreaking case is also raising questions about the privacy of Canada's drivers, millions of whom have no idea that their cars may be equipped with devices that record data that might later be used in court against them.

Well I think they all just need to check their manuals and see if there's one in their car. Either way, who cares; you shouldn't be going insanely out of control in the car anyway, and if you cause an accident, take some responisibility for it.

...less than a week before the third anniversary of his smashing into another vehicle at more than three times the speed limit.

How did it take them three years to figure that out? Wasn't the data right there in their hands?

This is a non-story (4, Insightful)

TrentL (761772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870227)

I just can't get angry at this. Most modern cars already have data recorders that monitor what was happening when the "Check Engine" light goes on.

If black boxes mean I have an objective witness when some a-hole hits me at 98mph, I say bring on the black boxes.

Re:This is a non-story (2, Funny)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870356)

You already have an objective witness, your death certificate.

Re:This is a non-story (3, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870433)

I just can't get angry at this. Most modern cars already have data recorders that monitor what was happening when the "Check Engine" light goes on.

I can get angry about it when people start suggesting that black boxes shoulld be mandatory, and that's the next logical step in this case. Once they start being used in court, there will be increasing pressure to make it a legal requirement for all cars to have them. My car doesn't have a black box. Should I be forced to install one, presumably at my own expense, just because I don't want to buy a new car? That's where this is headed, and I don't like it. Nor do I like the assumption that the government has the right to know what I'm doing and how I'm driving. As for the legal rammifications, I don't like those much either. How was the black box calibrated? When was it last calibrated? what are the error margins on its measurements? What safeguards are there to prevent the data being tampered with after the accident?

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (1)

Nebu (566313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870243)

How did it take them three years to figure that out? Wasn't the data right there in their hands?

The way I understand it, he crashed 3 years ago, they knew about it. 3 years later (i.e. today), he crashed again, and they know about it again.

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (1)

dhalgren99 (708333) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870252)

"How did it take them three years to figure that out? Wasn't the data right there in their hands?"

Welcome to Canada! :)

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870298)

18 months in jail for KILLING someone. (And don't even bother arguing that he is somehow indemnified by the fact that he was speeding. That's bollocks.)

Thank you for posting this, eds, right after we heard about someone getting 2/3 of that time for UNAUTHORISED RECORDING OF A MOVIE.

Why bother burning a copy of a "My Life and Times with the Thrill Kill Kult" album, when you can apparently live it for yourself at only marginally greater cost.

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (1)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870397)

Although I agree completely the driver needs punished (IMO he deserves more time), the black box does raise privacy issues - and the "if you're not doing anything wrong who cares" argument is a dangerous position. The OBD computers have had a modification proposal to allow BROADCAST to government officials. This is intended to notify drivers of vehicles over-polluting, but the broadcasts also have location, date/time and speed, so any local authorities could send you a ticket. Thankfully this has not gone anywhere yet but if it ever does it will be time to buy that 70's car. Taking your stance this intrusion would be OK too. Regular police investigation should have turned up the estimated speed, and the lack of skid marks (undies excluded) would have shown no braking was attempted.

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870410)

How did it take them three years to figure that out? Wasn't the data right there in their hands?

Well, call be crazy, but I reckon that the the authorities probably established pretty quickly what happened. Most likely the delay occured in the judicial process, as is often the case.

Re:That's hardly a privacy issue (2, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870416)

I'm not sure this is a privacy issue either.

I know that this happened in Canada, but in the States it could be construed as a 5th amendment issue. Can a persons property be compelled to testify against him?

-Peter

Before attempting to remove... (4, Interesting)

pr0c (604875) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870186)

I read once somewhere that these 'blackboxes' may be vital in making your airbag and other critical operations work. Removing them based off of privacy concerns (AKA fear of getting caught) may be foolish. I know removal may be suggested multiple times.

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870305)

Possibly, but that smells like FUD. It's more likely that the recording device is on an in-vehicle network (like CAN or Flexray) and passively receives information sent from other controllers and sensors. YMMV, IANAAEE (Automotive Electronics Engineer)

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870310)

The airbag pre-exists the car version of the black box, so a black box isn't technically a requirement for there to be an airbag.

However, for more advanced airbag systems, the data is useful so that the airbag can make an inteligent decision, such as whether to deploy at high speed, low speed, or not at all. The explosive force of an airbag can break bones if applied where it is not needed... so having the final five seconds of data is useful there. Why it needs to be kept beyond the five seconds after inpact cannot be explained by this function, however.

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870313)

Why is a basic car safety device(ie airbag) wired through a pice of electronics unnecessary to its basic funciton? I mean, its kind of like wiring my fire alrm through my stereo. DOnt get me wrong, i have no problem with its recording the airbags actions, but i want safety equipment to be as brain dead simple and failsafe as possible.

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870317)

most vehicles have the airbag control system ENTIRELY seperate from the rest of the electronics. So much that airbags also have their own backup power supply.

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870330)

Frankly, there are zero valid privacy concerns. The only situation in which the black box is legally accessed by anyone other than a mechanic is in the event of an accident. These are not emissive, nor are they on any network. They simply act like a black box on a plane.

People often give the "if you're not doing anything wrong, then you've got nothing to hide" argument against people who have privacy concerns, but in this case its literally true: if you haven't done anything wrong, not only have you nothing to hide but there is in fact no way to even look.

Re:Before attempting to remove... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870338)

well this idiot removed dangerous air bags and i have no regrets and wont either.BTW f**k spyware whether its code or hardware.and f**k you for being naiive.

Not quite there yet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870200)

I do expect the technology to get better, but these black boxes are not yet able to navigate your automobile to the nearest police facility after you break the law. This will require increases in AI or centralized monitoring that do not yet exist.

Sounds like Knight Rider. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870398)

Remeber the first episode? Two guys tried to steal KITT? He promptly took them to the police and ejected them on to their hood.

phew (1)

va3atc (715659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870206)

My 1998 Neon isn't on that list ;)

Re:phew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870273)

But it is on the list of cars that turn into a flaming death chamber after a head-on collision...

Re:phew (1)

va3atc (715659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870320)

But it is on the list of cars that turn into a flaming death chamber after a head-on collision...

I always wanted to be cremated

Re:phew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870334)

If it has an airbag, it is. The device is used to ensure that when your lawyer says "he was just sitting at a red light and the air bag deployed, give him a billion dollars", that their lawyers can say "funny, the speedo read 108, his foot was to the floor, and his speed reduced to 0 in .2 seconds, sounds like he was moving to me"

Re:phew (3, Funny)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870337)

My friend had a 1998 Neon! Then somebody rear-ended him.

The car was totalled.

From a simple stop-sign rear-ending.

Good luck with that!

Re:phew (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870346)

So...do you drive your Neon at 98MPH often?

On the BMW motorcycle list i subscribe to (2, Interesting)

Tran (721196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870209)

there was a discussion regarding this type of evidence. The lawyer and the engineering types where wondering as to the accuracy/reliabilty factor of these automtive black boxes. This of course would be the challenge in court...

Reminds me of the 406mph Peugot.. (1)

thesaur (681425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870377)

TheRegister ran the story [theregister.co.uk] about faulty speed cameras in the UK. Of course, a black box located in a car is much less likely to make a mistake than a radar. However, there always will be that possibility.

Combine the black box with wireless reporting, and radar will no longer be necessary. Of course, the privacy concerns would probably do that idea in. But it still pays to be vigilant.

It still would be theoretically possible to implement RFID reporting that would be built into the streets in cities...

Banned for life (2, Insightful)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870215)

Little bastard should be barred from having a license to operate any vehicle, for life.

Re:Banned for life (1)

rasteri (634956) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870323)

Little bastard should be barred from having a license to operate any vehicle, for life.

Even a segway?

Re:Banned for life (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870395)

Even a segway?

Ok, a Segway, but only with the low-speed key...

Bloack Boxes are certified by whom? (4, Insightful)

non-registered (639880) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870216)

This is disturbing. Maybe the box in my car is broken and 'stuck at 98'.

Re:Bloack Boxes are certified by whom? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870364)

Well as he hit another vehicle at that speed I'm sure the resulting collosion provided evidence that he was going close to that speed. But the blackbox not only confirmed the speed but showed that he didn't hit the break.

Re:Bloack Boxes are certified by whom? (1)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870381)

There will be other evidence too, like tyre marks on the road. The box will also have its own self diagnostic and the police will be able to verify its accuracy by testing it.

Or worse! (4, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870391)

My black boxes is stuck at "doesn't signal while changing lanes" and "sings along to the Backstreet boys at top volume!"

They day I get pulled over and ticketed because my box says I'm "stuck at nerd" is the day that the terrorists win.

Re:Bloack Boxes are certified by whom? (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870407)

The black box speed can be compared against the accident damage. Based on where the cars land at the end, the math can be done to get back to the original speeds. The black box would just be a checksum at that point.

Really, this thing is better at ruling out theories that didn't happen than proving ones that did. This guy was caught dead to rights already, the black box just supported a case that was already made.

How is this a privacy issue? (5, Insightful)

kognate (322256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870219)

They forget to mention that if you are accused of breaking the law you can use the black-box to prove you weren't.

It's just an instrument measuring the state of the car. People don't call Odometers a "privacy issue".

Re:How is this a privacy issue? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870277)

Not to mention the fact that this thing has only a four second memory. Thats like having your privacy intruded upon by the guy from Memento's [imdb.com] somewhat non-retentive goldfish.

Slippery Slope? (2, Insightful)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870220)

While this may well be the beginning of a horrible slippery slope, it's hard to feel for the driver in this case. Three times the speed limit? Fuckin' hang him.

Re:Slippery Slope? (1)

Temfate (753891) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870270)

I don't know... I've managed 4 times the limit before, but that's only possible because the school zone lights were flashing...

Wow. (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870231)

Floored accelerator while doing 157 km/h through an intersection in a 50 zone, and not braking before collecting another car. Maybe big brother got it right for once?

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870419)

well, he was driving a pontiac sunfire, so flooring it at that speed probably had zero effect. braking would have been nice though.

Excellent (5, Insightful)

USAPatriot (730422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870234)

Isn't this what slashdot should be cheering for, the use of technology that saves lives? What kind of privacy do you expect when you're in a 3000 lb vehicle going 90+ mph on a public road?

These black boxes have far more benefits that outweigh any concerns about privacy. The use of them can serve as neutral observers to determine what really happened in an accident, and can help automobile manufacturers improve safety with the use of this data.

So no, the black box didn't send him to jail. Killing a guy with his car did.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870332)

This story and the one titled "Projectionists Using Night Vision Goggles in Theaters" could both be summarised by a trainee editor as "Criminal convicted of committing crime", and would both be spiked by a competent editor as not containing anything newsworthy. Can we get either a trainee editor or a competent editor to join the Slashdot staff?

Re:Excellent (1)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870354)

This is what we should be cheering, but inevitably someone will post complaining about them. Its the standard problem with the internet: some assholes who have no concerns with society but only instead worry about their own privacy are given a voice.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870405)

the black box didn't send him to jail. Killing a guy with his car did.

Good God! A sensible comment on /. ! Whatever is the world coming to?

Other Important factors (5, Informative)

nuggz (69912) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870406)

Other important factors are
He lied, he said he was going only slightly over the speed limit.
There was a huge amount of damage, that was not representative of his claimed speed.
There were no skid marks (Although ABS may limit them)

The investigators got a court order to look at the black box. They already had evidence that he was going faster then he claimed. And that he didn't try to prevent or reduce the accident.

The only thing the black box did was confirm evidence they already had, and make it more precise (exact speed, and that he didn't hit the brakes.)

How to remove these devices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870238)

I have posted on my car club forum (ffoc.co.uk) before about these devices, and quite frankly I find them deeply disturbing!

As all of us Slasdot'ers know, technology isnt always all its cracked up to be, and the idea that this bit of kit could send you to jail based on some possibly accurate information stored in it is crazy!

Does anyone know how to disable or remove them from ur car? Because I pretty sure they are not required by law here in the UK!

James

Re:How to remove these devices? (1)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870307)

They can be removed by a simple procedure requiring a screwdriver and three beers.

They still might be required by law, but the punishment will likely be a fine for not having one rather than a conviction based on the data they recovered.

Re:How to remove these devices? (1)

mrwonton (456172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870386)

In many cases, I think these black boxes are integral to some of the safety systems in the car, unless you'd rather be without airbags.

Myself, I don't see a problem with them, at least not in this context. It could be an issue if they can get at this information on a whim, but thats not what happened here. The data was used to convict someone who I'd say, in this case, was quite solidly guilty. If these boxes are sending out your driving habits to your the police or your insurance company, that would be one thing, but the last 5 seconds before an accident? That could actually be some useful data to have.

Re:How to remove these devices? (1)

shlomo (594012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870392)

you mean not required YET :)

Most people wont care about the issue , if it becomes required, better go get those beers now.

Wrong (5, Insightful)

blinder (153117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870242)

Automobile Black Box Sends Driver to Jail

Um, no. Actually driving like a criminal, and using one's car as a weapon is what sent this scum bag to jail. The "black box" just helped make sure this freak is off the streets.

Re:Wrong (0, Redundant)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870384)

98 in a 30, vehicular manslaughter, not a first offense, and the defense calls 18 months "very, very severe?" i think he got off light.

Countermeasures (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870247)

Lead-lined beaded seat covers and tinfoil driving gloves will become all the rage.

Only 18 months? (4, Interesting)

alptraum (239135) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870250)

He only got 18 months for killing a man? For the speed he was going I would really expect a longer sentance.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

DFJA (680282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870404)

In the UK drivers often get off with a 200 (USD350) fine and a one month ban for killing a pedestrian or cyclist. If there is no proof that they were speeding or in some other way driving dangerously, the system fails the more vulnerable road user very badly. But yes with proof of his speed, he should be locked away for a very long time.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

gkelman (665809) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870409)

So if he killed the man at 5mph, he should have got a lesser sentence? How does this make sense? If he'd killed him with a cuddly toy, should he just have been let off?

The problem with longer sentences is they often are hard to follow, especially when people forget to use commas.

Re:Only 18 months? (5, Insightful)

Grab (126025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870434)

Dead right, man.

His lawyer is apparently whining "we'll have to appeal this very, very harsh sentence". Harsh?! 18 month sentence (and let's be honest, that only really amounts to 12 months inside) for killing someone?! Shit, the kid should be thanking his lucky stars *I* wasn't handing down that sentence...

Hitting someone when you're doing 157km/h in a built-up area is not an accident - it's like standing on a crowded subway, pulling out a pistol, closing your eyes and pulling the trigger. Maybe you won't hit anyone, but that's only by luck. That speed on the freeway, fair enough if you can handle it. But in a built-up area, no way.

Grab.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

Deflagro (187160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870435)

No kidding, and given the fact that he didn't even brake! Who knows, maybe he swerved. This is Montreal after all. That sounds more like it should be manslaughter but then again IANACL.

Technology to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870253)

This is great! Finally a Linux based car system that outs criminals!

Linux Rules!

Remember.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870257)

Remember that this guy did kill a man as he was doing triple the speed limit. This maybe isnt a "grab your tinfoil hat" article as much as a "he only got 18 months?" article. If the RIAA gets its way, you'd get much longer than that for sharing a mp3.

Talk about a mixed reaction... (-1, Troll)

fzammett (255288) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870261)

Part of me is perfectly happy to cage someone that drives like that much of an asshole, and kills someone to boot.

Then part of me is scared to death of such an invasion of privacy and curtailing of personal liberties.

I mean, I SHOULD be able to drive like that and I SHOULD be able to kill someone and I shouldn't have to worry about Big Brother knowing about it.

But that doesn't exactly take into consideration the poor soul that was run down by this idiot, does it?

I don't really have a point except to answer the comments that will inevitably be made here about freedoms and government encroachment of our civil liberties... There is always a balance between complete freedom and the public good, and it's never an easy line to draw. I'm generally for letting people do whatever the hell they want until their actions hurt someone. In this instance, they clearly have, so it becomes a difficult topic.

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Re:Talk about a mixed reaction... (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870375)

I mean, I SHOULD be able to drive like that and I SHOULD be able to kill someone and I shouldn't have to worry about Big Brother knowing about it.

why SHOULD you be allowed? law enforcement is in place, specifically so you can't do these sorts of things. it isn't your right to speed, nor is it your right to kill. both are illegal, and for goo reason.

GOOD! (0, Redundant)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870262)

A man was flooring the gas pedal, and he didn't even break before he hit someone.

Sounds like he was being an idiot.

Why are people so upset about things like this? I'm curious. What evern happened to personal responsibility?

Ted

possible invasion of privacy? (2, Insightful)

xxdinkxx (560434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870267)

I have to bring the privacy issue up. While there are some obvious good things about having this black box in one's car, one must ask though what exactally is this car monitoring, and what are the laws/regulations on gleeming information out. Also, what is the integrity of this box. If it is eaisly tweakable or corruptable--then can it really be trusted. If something like the patriot act( Yes I know this was not in America) can be applied to this kind of device, then perhaps more people should consider using a bike. Also, will it become law for these devices to exist, or would said driver be allowed to remove the device.

This is great news (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870271)

Driving 157 km/h in a 50 km/h zone is just totally criminal, and there is noone who doesn't know that. He bears full responsibility for the death. I find it disgusting that the defence lawyer thinks of appealing.

I like this use of technology. A lot.

Re:This is great news (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870387)

> I find it disgusting that the defence lawyer thinks of appealing.

If the lawyer appeals, the lawyer gets paid.
If the lawyer doesn't appeal, the lawyer doesn't get paid.

The sort of lawyer who gives a damn about what's right and wrong wouldn't have taken the case in the first place.

English, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870278)

This article from the Montreal Gazette reports that a driver got 18 months in jail for speeding that killed man after the black box in his car revealed he was going 157 km/h (98 mph) in a 50 km/h zone in downtown Montreal. The recording device, which stores data on how a car is driven in the last five seconds before a collision, showed that four seconds before impact, the driver had the gas pedal to the floor and didn't brake before impact.

What? Try proper grammar, it works.

Why don't I feel angry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870282)

...about this so obvious violation of privacy...?

Over-engineered solution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870283)

We should just require all pedestrians to wear bull-body airbags.

Re:Over-engineered solution (1)

kai5263499 (751741) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870389)

I imagine having a bull in my car would more of a detremint to my driving than an asset...

Guaranteed No Box In Mine (2, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870293)

As much time as I spend working on my rides,I would know if there is one.(got rid of the damn air bags too)

All for privacy... (1)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870299)

...but when it comes down to someone trying to skirt the law with their lawyers and blatant lies then I'm all for this. I imagine that the convicted was going to say he wasn't speeding in court. Too bad we can't implant black boxes into convicted felons. Next time they "don't kill someone" there will be a black box implanted in their skin to place them at the scene of the crime.

My god, I kind of sounded like John Ass-hcroft there.

Lucky bloke (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870300)

18 months is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. 5 years sounds good to be..

I'm one for putting speed restrictors on cars, seen a couple of nasty accidents in my time. Would make black box redundant

18 Months? (1)

kai5263499 (751741) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870304)

With the evidence that this guy was going 98mph and hit the guy without breaking, is 18months really that harsh of a penalty? Also, I wonder if insurance agencies will factor this into their agreements; something like: "thou shalt not disconnect this blackbox and if we see that you were breaking local laws we won't pay anything (or as much)".

YASD (Yet Another Slashdot Dupe) (3, Informative)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870311)

Another dupe [slashdot.org] . Yawn. This story was originally posted last October when he was convicted.

Before your knee jerks... (2, Insightful)

srwalter (39999) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870312)

I'm sure a lot of people here on slashdot will think that this is just terrible and a travesty, But why? This is a win for society. This guy eas driving 100 in a 30mph zone. Is that really somebody you want on the roads? I don't.

But what about the privacy implications, you ask? Which ones. No data is stored unless you're in a collision, and in that case information is in the best interest of all parties.

I drive a car. I speed. I own aa radar detector. But this doesn't botehr me, because I'm a catious driver. I don't drive at highway speeds in a downtown area. I don't run people over. So unless you do, this isn't a problem.

Lesson in all this (2, Funny)

bdigit (132070) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870322)

The lesson is clear: stay out of movie theaters^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H.. cars and you won't get arrested.

little conversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8870341)

for the confused americans..

100mph in a 35mph zone..

BTW.. it's montreal.. you'd understand if you drove there.. they're all nuckin futs

Where does it stop? (1)

thebra (707939) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870344)

I see the uses for a product as such but if we keep allowing the govt to monitor us at what point will it stop? After your car has the black box they will want you to breath in a tube to start your car every time.

Good thing (0, Redundant)

jdifool (678774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870345)

Driving is ok.

Driving too fast is bad.

Killing people while driving can be a fucking crime.

When will people realize that, for god's sake ? You have no excuse when you kill someone while driving too fast, especially in downtown.

If only a government had the balls to resist the pressure of car manufacturers groups and impose an engine throttle limitation for common vehicles...

Regards,
jdif

Respect for privacy??? (2, Interesting)

FlashBac (720033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870348)

I have no respect for the drivers privacy in this instance. None. He was traveling on a public road, with no consideration whatsoever of all other people.
People who drive cars recklessly make me sick... you are trundling around in a heavy chunk of metal, thats squashy on the inside, and hard on the outside. You are endangering everyone elses lives doing this. You must do everything reasonably possible to be as safe as you can.
If you want speed, be a real man (women are generally more intelligent) and buy a quick bike. Far quicker, and mistakes are far more severely punished.

Good for him (1)

javatips (66293) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870349)

I concur with other slashdoter that there is no privacy issue there.

The guy committed a crime and killed someone, then he lied either to the police or in court by saying he was going just a little over the speed limit. He deserved to go to jail.

If the blackbox was used to check if someone went over the speed limit (but committed no crime) just to give him a speed ticket without other evidence, then I would called that an invasion of privacy.

In this case, there was some evidence that the guy was lying about its speed, but not enough to jail him. So as good investigators, they seeked more evidences by analysing the blackbox. It looks fair to me!

Re:Good for him (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870439)

If the blackbox was used to check if someone went over the speed limit (but committed no crime) just to give him a speed ticket without other evidence, then I would called that an invasion of privacy.

You mean, no other crime, I assume. Violating a posted speed limit is a crime in and of itself.

Don't get me wrong, I happen to agree with your points, but this specific example was incorrect.

so? (1)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870355)

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with this. Its not like it was broadcasting this data - its only looked at in the case of an accident. If it can make these swine fry, all the better.

This guy killed someone my being a stupid jackass. He was going over 100km/h over the limit in a populated area. Rechless and/or drunk drivers deserve no pity. The defense is trying to appeal his sentence, but i think the only way he should be let out of jail is to make sure he'll never get behind a wheel again - not ever. He lost that right when he took it away from someone else.

its just amazing to see someone so selfish to take a life in such a stupid way, and then even consider arguing about getting jail time.

Anyone know if it's legal to remove these? (2, Insightful)

strider3700 (109874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870360)

Now my car is probably a little older then anything that contains these, it's a 91, but I'm wondering if you could legally remove this if you wanted to?

I'm in the process of stripping my car down to it's bare essentials for autoX use however it needs to be street legal to get to the track.

I know that the aftermarket ECU I've installed is illegal because it can be tuned by the user and therefore fails the local smog rules. However when I had the car tested the inspectors didn't find the ECU and the results still came out clean enough so I don't care.

In my mind the most likely place to have this tracking hardware is in the ECU. It already knows all of the information he was convicted on. The new ECU has the capability of logging the same info, but I can turn it on or off.

I'd hate for something stupid like that to be the thing that gets my car pulled off the road.

Just like a passport (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870362)

Well, even your passport shows in which countries you've been, and can be used in court. As long as you know there's a black box recording your speed and that thing is not broadcasting, there's no privacy issue in my opinion, as the information is not disclosed until needed.
No one can come and "have a look" at your black box just to break your privacy: they must have a reason and the authority to do that.

Besides, it's ludicrous how the lawyer calls the sentence "very, very severe": 18 month for killing a man speeding at 157 km/h? 5 to 10 years seems a more reasonable range to me, other than driving-licence barring for life.

Remove tinfoil hat: real issues (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870367)

I have to take off my tinfoil hat for this one. While where I go and how fast I got there aren't anyone's business under normal circumstances, five seconds of data gathered right before I crash are fair game.

However, there are some issues to be careful about:

* Five seconds is probably not long enough to know what really happened. I could have mashed the brake to the floor at t-10s, then hit the gas to avoid being T-Bone'd at t-6s... in that case, it looks like I was rushing headlong into the wreck.

* But how long is enough? 30 seconds? Five minutes? A day or two? Pick a silly extreme, and someone is likely to attempt to legislate it.

* Who has read access to the data? It's my data, so I should be able to plug the car into my USB port and see it for myself (as should my attorney).

* Who has write access? Obviously, the car's sensors and nobody else. But are there safeguards (digital signature?) to ensure against tampering? And what if a hacker replaces the car's CPU?

* How about "erase"? IIRC, airline black boxes have a button that the pilot can hit on his way out of the cockpit to erase the voice recorder after a successful landing (defined: one you walk away from). Is this a Good Thing, or Considered Harmful?

* Is it fair if my car has the feature, but the other guy's doesn't? You can tell that I was speeding, but what if he was speeding more? Remember the "Malcolm in the Middle" episode, where the camera "saw" Mom pull out in front of someone, but another camera showed that the other car made a U-Turn right in front of her?

Lots of issues to be resolved. But I'll get one, if I can, *if* there's an insurance discount.

as it stands (2, Interesting)

unformed (225214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870370)

If it's simply saving the previous five seconds before impact, then what's the problem? This will be an objective and relatively perfect witness.

Now if they start monitoring everything (as in every speed you go, along with GPS to know what road you were) that's a completely different issue, and should raise some privacy concerns.

This, OTOH, should make the roads safer, as well as reduce insurance rates.

Man is dead? (0)

cacheMan (150533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870379)

I know that the metro/queer eye craze is going strong. Is it because this speeder killed MAN?

"in jail for speeding that killed man "

Clarifying for lack of a better title (4, Insightful)

register_ax (695577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870400)

The Montreal motorist betrayed by his car's black box has been sent to jail for dangerous driving causing death.

I read that as:

The Montreal motorist betrayed by the truth has been sent to a facility which offers the possibility of those lacking responsibility to rethink their stance on this moral predicament.

If the tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? For those to dense ... if information exists that is not made aware, does it hold any importance?

Ah yes, it then becomes a matter to how much truth we are entitled to maintain to ourselves. Or in another word, privacy. Corruption will remain all the while truth is suppressed. I don't like this fact, but I find it doubtful we'll get there because we are brothers (sisters -- does it even matter?)

(Note I just got done watching Dogma ;)

What a lunatic (3, Interesting)

olau (314197) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870411)

Obviously, this guy needs some kind of treatment by professionals. It is a good thing the black box could help nail him.

But I really fail to see how this is interesting on Slashdot. This is obviously not a privacy issue. The black box records information about the last five seconds before a collision. That's hardly a privacy concern.

Privacy issue? (5, Interesting)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870415)

I concur with the other posters that there's not a privacy issue here, when you're on a public road driving a vehicle that not only affects you but the roads you drive on and everyone you encounter during that drive, the needs of public safety outweigh any "privacy" issues with the car recording speed or other engine statistics. It's not like the car is sitting there with a notebook writing down where you're going, either.

This guy's own stupidity got him in trouble, I for one hope that he gets his license revoked for life. They have good public transport up there. Let him take the bus.

High speed and black boxes.. hmmmm... (1)

slashhax0r (579213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870430)

At the racetrack...

Seriously, how many times have you been tooling down the interstate (Or here in Alberta, the yellowhead ;) ) and there's some yahoo in a pimped out honda civic going 90 mph..
Chances are the driver of that car
hasn't seen a racetrack or taken the required car control clinics and training nessecary to safely drive at those speeds...

Never mind the fact that potholes, debris, wild animals and of course pedestrians and other drivers exist on our public roads.

I saw this on the news last night and thought "hmmm... Precident setting" The problem with a black box, is that it might be prone to abuse. Lets say you rent a car and exceed the speed limit (80mph isn't usualy legal anyway as an example).
Perhaps the rental car company will charge you a fee for speeding. (maybe to cover any photo radar your triggered).

That kind of thing...

Also, on the news they intervied the dead Victim's sister.. she of course mentioned that without the black box data they would have figgured her brother
was at fault.. etc etc.

Guess there's 2 sides to the black box issue. It can be both good and bad, abused or not.

That said, if I buy a car with one. I will disable it. Hell, my car, my choice to make.

Black boxes could be good (2, Interesting)

cosmo0406 (714228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8870437)

What if the black boxes could be used to help us in other ways? Imagine if every year your insurance agency could look at a black box from your car and see that you generally drove the speed limit and even avoided accidents. This could lower your insurance rates. On the other hand, if this box showed you were a horrible driver, maybe your rates would go up, or the insurance company would offer a safe driver course.
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