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  • Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

    A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards.

    Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so.
    “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,” states the bill.

    Although the text of legislation states that such data would remain the property of the owner of the vehicle, the government would have the power to access it in a number of circumstances, including by court order, if the owner consents to make it available, and pursuant to an investigation or inspection conducted by the Secretary of Transportation.

    Given the innumerable examples of both government and industry illegally using supposedly privacy-protected information to spy on individuals, this represents the slippery slope to total Big Brother surveillance of every American’s transport habits and location data.
    The legislation, which has been given the Orwellian title ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’, sailed through the Senate after being heavily promoted by Democrats Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and is also expected to pass the Republican-controlled House.

    Given the fact that the same bill also includes a controversial provision that would empower the IRS to revoke passports of citizens merely accused of owing over $50,000 in back taxes, stripping them of their mobility rights, could the mandatory black boxes or a similar technology be used for the same purpose?

    Biometric face-recognition and transdermol sensor technology that prevents an inebriated person from driving a car by disabling the automobile has already been developed, in addition to systems that refuse to allow the vehicle to start if the driver is deemed to be overtired.
    The ultimate Big Brother scenario would be a system whereby every driver had to get de facto permission from the state to drive each time they get behind the wheel, once it had been determined from an iris scan that they were good citizens who have paid all their taxes and not misbehaved.
    The push to pressure car manufacturers to install black box tracking devices in all new cars has been ongoing for over a decade. In 2006, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraged but did not require automobile manufacturers to install the systems.

    However, in February last year NHTSA administrator David Strickland said the government was considering making the technology mandatory in the wake of recalls of millions of Toyota vehicles.

    Earlier this year it was reported that the NHTSA would soon formally announce that all new cars would be mandated to have the devices fitted by law, which has now been codified into the MAP-21 bill.
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. dlukym's Avatar
      dlukym -
      HAHAHA, that sux. Does it have a camera too?
    1. rdtphd's Avatar
      rdtphd -
      fuck this
    1. hambone420's Avatar
      hambone420 -
      they watch us, controll us, and poison our food supply
    1. usr's Avatar
      usr -
      It is hard to believe the Chinese people don't rise up against their government doing these sorts of things.
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by usr View Post
      It is hard to believe the Chinese people don't rise up against their government doing these sorts of things.
      Who are you usr? I non sarcastically liked your post with its body of sarcastic irony.
    1. duke0102's Avatar
      duke0102 -
      This seems like one of those 'good on paper' ideas. Hate to think what these boxes will cost to fit.
    1. TrakeM's Avatar
      TrakeM -
      Quote Originally Posted by duke0102 View Post
      This seems like one of those 'good on paper' ideas. Hate to think what these boxes will cost to fit.
      Don't worry, this kind of spending is OK. It's the kind that you have to do. Wall street and capitol hill won't be the ones losing money on this.

      What happened to the republicans being the party of small government?
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by usr View Post
      It is hard to believe the Chinese people don't rise up against their government doing these sorts of things.
      Who are you usr? I non sarcastically liked your post with its body of sarcastic irony.
      I, too, liked that it pleased macky.
    1. godofhell's Avatar
      godofhell -
      Next we'll have to install cameras in every room of our homes and let the government record 24/7
    1. brilman's Avatar
      brilman -
      Progressive Auto Insurance Does something like that with there "Snapshot" it plugs into the EMC and records your driving habits. Guess after 20 years with no license,tickets or problems gonna have to pull out my 57 Chevy!
    1. Mee2's Avatar
      Mee2 -
      We are going to leave one fucked up country to our children and their children.... Their American Dream will be to leave the country...
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mee2 View Post
      We are going to leave one fucked up country to our children and their children.... Their American Dream will be to leave the country...
      Hey that's my American dream.
    1. TheFoX's Avatar
      TheFoX -
      BIG BROTHER is HERE, NOW!!!
    1. bobbintb's Avatar
      bobbintb -
      you mean investigators will be able to find out the cause of a fatal crash? or subpoena the court for the driving records or a suspected killer or child abductor? my god thats horrible! lets all over react right now!
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by bobbintb View Post
      you mean investigators will be able to find out the cause of a fatal crash? or subpoena the court for the driving records or a suspected killer or child abductor? my god thats horrible! lets all over react right now!
      I don't see those things working out quite the way you've phrased them. If I were abducting children... ahem... I wouldn't be driving them around in a monitored car. Plus, my emptied out utility van would probably have been made in the 80s or 90s. Accident investigations, those are usually figured out without the need for a box by the conditions of the vehicle and the marks and damage of the terrain. You're also assuming its event data recorder will be extensive enough to solve the most bizarre of accidents, which are most likely brought on by external stimuli. It feels like you're overreacting to a reaction.
    1. bobbintb's Avatar
      bobbintb -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post

      I don't see those things working out quite the way you've phrased them. If I were abducting children... ahem... I wouldn't be driving them around in a monitored car. Plus, my emptied out utility van would probably have been made in the 80s or 90s.
      well, right now yea. but in twenty or thirty years, chances are your car will have it. i dont quite think youve thought this through. say i grew up before cars were mandated to have seat belts. and say i dont like seat belts so i keep my old car. by your logic i could argue "well this seat belt law is pointless because if one wanted to circumvent it all they have to do it buy a car that predates the law." now just try to find a car today that doesnt have seat belts. so what you are saying is "dont bother to mandate this technology because criminals can easily circumvent it by using a vehicle that predates the law." if this mandate is implemented eventually all if not 99.99% of cars on the road will have it. arguing that criminals will just use an older car is a very short sighted argument to make. and yes, you could argue that a criminal could just disable it but i think you are giving criminals too much credit. most of them arent that careful or meticulous or even knowledgeable.

      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post
      Accident investigations, those are usually figured out without the need for a box by the conditions of the vehicle and the marks and damage of the terrain. You're also assuming its event data recorder will be extensive enough to solve the most bizarre of accidents, which are most likely brought on by external stimuli. It feels like you're overreacting to a reaction.

      im not making any such assumptions. what im assuming is the black box will record data on internal systems. yes accident investigations are usually figured out without the need for a box by the conditions of the vehicle and the marks and damage of the terrain. but that is because currently they dont have boxes. thats like saying a doctor can usually tell what illness you have based on your symptoms, without the need to run a blood test. yea, i'm sure he could, but i sure as hell would want him to run that test just to verify his findings. if a vehicle suffered a mechanical failure, or even a user failure, you could spent countless investigation hours examining the crash and wreckage to determine a cause. or you could look at the black box data and see if the other evidence is in line with the block box data.

      im just kind of tired of people slapping the "privacy violation" or "big brother" label on a story that has very little if anything to due with privacy invasion, and them people getting all riled up about nothing. how exactly is it an invasion of privacy for your vehicle to monitor itself? it's not like it is emailing the NSA minute by minute gps coordinates of you movements. everyone lately seems to get all bent out of shape over little things like this all the time. if you ask me, having my name and address published in a freely available publication like a phone book is much of a "privacy invasion" than having my vehicle monitor itself, the data of which is only available when some sort of accident or criminal activity occurs. i dont understand why people today have this bubble around them and so jealously guard every minute detail about themselves and there lives and are so vehemently against anyone knowing anything about them at all without their expressed written consent. i mean, we live in a globally connected world of almost 7 billion people. it is foolish and impractical to think you have that much control over your identity. im not advocated that privacy is bad or anything like that but no one seems to be putting any of this in context lately. say i go to walmart and someone i sort of know sees me but doesnt say anything. a few days later a friend says "oh hey, so-and-so said they say you the other day". so what? but god, if a website (managed by a person who has no connection or interest in you personally) logs your ip (which has absolutely no conclusive association to you as a person) people flip out. can someone please explain to me why that is?
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Quote Originally Posted by bobbintb View Post
      well, right now yea. but in twenty or thirty years, chances are your car will have it. i dont quite think youve thought this through. say i grew up before cars were mandated to have seat belts. and say i dont like seat belts so i keep my old car. by your logic i could argue "well this seat belt law is pointless because if one wanted to circumvent it all they have to do it buy a car that predates the law." now just try to find a car today that doesnt have seat belts. so what you are saying is "dont bother to mandate this technology because criminals can easily circumvent it by using a vehicle that predates the law." if this mandate is implemented eventually all if not 99.99% of cars on the road will have it. arguing that criminals will just use an older car is a very short sighted argument to make. and yes, you could argue that a criminal could just disable it but i think you are giving criminals too much credit. most of them arent that careful or meticulous or even knowledgeable.
      This one's pretty easy. Get in the car, don't put on seat belt. Don't fasten kidnapped child into seat belt as she's already got a lot of duct tape to deal with.

      Quote Originally Posted by bobbintb View Post
      im just kind of tired of people slapping the "privacy violation" or "big brother" label on a story that has very little if anything to due with privacy invasion, and them people getting all riled up about nothing. how exactly is it an invasion of privacy for your vehicle to monitor itself? it's not like it is emailing the NSA minute by minute gps coordinates of you movements. everyone lately seems to get all bent out of shape over little things like this all the time. if you ask me, having my name and address published in a freely available publication like a phone book is much of a "privacy invasion" than having my vehicle monitor itself, the data of which is only available when some sort of accident or criminal activity occurs. i dont understand why people today have this bubble around them and so jealously guard every minute detail about themselves and there lives and are so vehemently against anyone knowing anything about them at all without their expressed written consent. i mean, we live in a globally connected world of almost 7 billion people. it is foolish and impractical to think you have that much control over your identity. im not advocated that privacy is bad or anything like that but no one seems to be putting any of this in context lately. say i go to walmart and someone i sort of know sees me but doesnt say anything. a few days later a friend says "oh hey, so-and-so said they say you the other day". so what? but god, if a website (managed by a person who has no connection or interest in you personally) logs your ip (which has absolutely no conclusive association to you as a person) people flip out. can someone please explain to me why that is?
      The point with the box is that they can access on demand. I honestly don't give a fuck if my email is read, just that they believe it's OK to read it, and have attempted legislation/circumvention to do so. I don't mind Google datamining either. What I would mind is if I had an always on device in my house that could easily deactivate my power/water and with it internet and what have you. How much control over your person and your property are you willing to share for the sake of... accident investigations and fruitless efforts to track down criminals. If criminals were stupid enough to drive an equipped vehicle, it's very likely they're going to get caught anyway. I'd never buy a car with that OnStar shit, and wouldn't want to be forced into buying an equivalent with no amenities.

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...r-bricks-cars/
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Is there anyone out there still dumb enough to believe speeding tickets are primarily about safety? How about those "Photo Red" traffic cameras that are brought in to raise REVENUE on a 50/50 split with corporate interests? Seat belt laws for "safety" when there is already an 80%+ compliance rate? Revenue for the State again.

      Now, with all of these "safety" devices why would we need to have our every move monitored? How long will it be before you get your speeding, improper lane changes, rolling stop, etc. tickets printed out "conveniently" on your car's dashboard?

      EDIT- To heck with that, since your phone already spews out your personal info, why not just email it to you?
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      I suppose we'll also hear how the Patriot Act is the price we pay for freedom.
    1. bobbintb's Avatar
      bobbintb -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjmacky View Post
      This one's pretty easy. Get in the car, don't put on seat belt. Don't fasten kidnapped child into seat belt as she's already got a lot of duct tape to deal with.
      you completely ignored the argument on that one. the point was not "just dont put the seatbelt on". the point was the fact that the car came with a seatbelt in the first place.