Obama Gives OK For Black Box Data Recorders to Be Installed in All Cars

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Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
December 8, 2012

With complete disregard for driver privacy, the Obama administration gave their consent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate black box event data recorders (EDR) be installed in all new cars in the US.

The NHTSA says that by September 2014 all car and light trucks will be equipped with EDRs that will silently “record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop.”

The information recorded by EDRs includes:

• vehicle speed
• whether the brake was activated in the moments before a crash
• crash forces at the moment of impact
• information about the state of the engine throttle
• air bag deployment timing and air bag readiness prior to the crash
• whether the vehicle occupant’s seat belt was buckled

The NHTSA claims that “EDRs do not collect any personal identifying information or record conversations and do not run continuously.”

Advanced EDRs can collect detailed information about drivers and their driving habits; including the size and weight of the driver, the seat position, the habits of the driver as well as passengers.

The excuse is the EDRs gather information about car crashes in the moments leading up to the accident that manufacturers can use to improve their safety measures when constructing vehicles. However, the government regulation utilizes surveillance technology with policies that do not outline the expressed use of the data collected in the EDRs.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is opposed to the US Congress requiring EDRs in all vehicles by legislation. Although they admit that “event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy. Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy.”

A statement published in March of 2012 by the AAM clearly explains that the NHTSA is not concerned about protecting the privacy of drivers with regard to EDRs and leaves such issues to the elected officials on Capitol Hill. By passing the buck the NHTSA then reiterates their support of EDRs for surveillance use to assist auto manufacturers in the construction of future vehicles.

EDR information has become common place as evidence in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents.

The Congressional legislation would not allow for an opt-out option and federal regulations would demand that automakers give over the data recorded on the EDR to federal agencies at their discretion. In fact, the NHTSA admits that they cannot “impose limits as how the information can be used and other privacy protections.”

Bosch Diagnostics, creator of the Crash Data Retrieval software, works with local law enforcement, government agencies and auto manufacturers to provide surveillance technology to the auto industry.

The CDR software has been installed in 2013 vehicle models of:

• Chrysler
• Dodge
• Fiat
• Jeep
• Ford
• Lincoln
• General Motors
• Honda
• Infiniti
• Nissan

Earlier this year, S.1813, “Mandatory Event Data Recorders”, a.k.a. MAP-21, was championed by Senators harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and called the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.”

According to the bill: “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.”

The data recorder would be property of the owner of the car; however the government would have complete access to the data inside under specific circumstances such as court order. Failure to adhere to court orders or even having the EDR installed in a vehicle would result in civil penalties against American citizens. The Secretary of Transpiration would be charged with extracting the data through investigation or inspection.

In 2011, David Strickland of the NHTSA said that the US government was considering forcing this black box technology onto the car manufacturers and recall millions of Toyotas to refit them with these devices. This year, Strickland accurately predicted that the NHTSA would make a formal announcement about these black boxes and the mandates for installing them.


  1. “Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission”

    Of course, that will be at the end of a long EULA-style permission slip, written in lawyereze, that will be a yes/no signoff. No permission granted, no oil change for you!

    Then comes the back-alley tire rotations and the campaign to get rid of independent garages… I can see it now, a poster at the dealership with a odd looking man in dirty coveralls with the caption “Would you trust your life with this man? Factory authorized service is trusted service.”

  2. I just got back from a house warming party. Super awesome house! Has a pond, geothermal climate control, huge logs built all into the structure, and easily a million dollar home. My wife helped perform general supervision on the construction because the owners were out of country and two of the previous contractors went bankrupt and stole their money. Anyhow, as we sat there eating and talking (all these people are professionals and were strangers to me) one of the older gentlemen said “why are there so many police in Front Royal lately?” I told him I don’t think it’s just here, it’s everywhere. Everyone chimed complaining how many cops they see at basic traffic stops and talked of the road blocks. Things are tightening up and everyone is noticing!

  3. this is one of the reasons people like me will likely still buy used cars regardless of the costs associated with repair and maintenance.


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