PRIVACYnotes

Automotive Black Boxes EDR's
Event Data Recorders
 

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HIPAA

Automotive Black Boxes EDR's or Event Data Recorders

Auto Black Boxes EDR's or Event Data Recorders

An estimated 25 million automobiles in the United States now have event data recorders, a scaled-down version of the devices that monitor cockpit activity in airplanes. Like aviation recorders, automobile black boxes mainly receive attention after an accident. The devices' primary function is to monitor various sensors and decide whether to fire air bags. Since the 1998 model year, all new cars from all manufacturers have been required to have air bags and so most such recent-model cars have the devices. But secondary and more recently installed features in many recorders store data from a few seconds before a crash. Though capabilities vary widely among carmakers, most recorders store only limited information on speed, seat-belt use, physical forces, brakes and other factors. Voices are not recorded. But the devices are finding their way into courtrooms as evidence in criminal and civil cases, leading some privacy advocates to question how the recorders came to be installed so widely with so little public notice or debate.

Motorists face travel tax and 'Big Brother' microchip law enforcement 07 September 2003 By MATTHEW LOWE Motorists face being taxed on how far they travel under government plans to generate cash. Transport Minister Paul Swain said with vehicles becoming more fuel efficient, revenue from petrol tax would drop and alternative charges needed to be considered. It is one of a number of transport schemes being looked at by officials, including a Big Brother-style project to equip every car with a personalised microchip so law-breaking motorists can be prosecuted by computer.

Big Brother on board Monday June 16 2003 Few owners know it, but many cars sold around the world are equipped with "black boxes". And, as a US court case has just shown, the contents can be dynamite. When Edwin Matos, 47, killed two girls in a car crash, he didn't know his own car would become a witness for the prosecution. Like millions of motorists around the world, Matos had no idea his vehicle contained an electronic data box recording what he did just before the crash. But the information will help send him to prison. His Pontiac's electronic data recorder showed his speed was 114mph (184kmh). He was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and two counts of vehicular homicide. The cigarette-sized box that helped jail Matos is part of a car's computer systems that record the speed of the vehicle, whether the driver was accelerating or braking, and whether the seat belts were buckled.

 

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