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About 96 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States have the boxes, and in September 2014, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its way, all will have them.
The article quote relates to cages but I am sure you will agree that odds are that if/when fully implemented it may spill over to two-wheelers. That will be the day….


I am not sure what to make of this. How will this affect us all? Only you have your individual answer. On one side I see advantages but on the other side I like my anonymity. :biggrinag Too much computing and apps these days. :comp I miss the 1980’s and my ‘78 Nova.


Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/black-boxes-in-cars-a-question-of-privacy.html?_r=0

The New York Times
July 21, 2013
A Black Box for Car Crashes
By JACLYN TROP

When Timothy P. Murray crashed his government-issued Ford Crown Victoria in 2011, he was fortunate, as car accidents go. Mr. Murray, then the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, was not seriously hurt, and he told the police he was wearing a seat belt and was not speeding.

But a different story soon emerged. Mr. Murray was driving over 100 miles an hour and was not wearing a seat belt, according to the computer in his car that tracks certain actions. He was given a $555 ticket; he later said he had fallen asleep.

The case put Mr. Murray at the center of a growing debate over a little-known but increasingly important piece of equipment buried deep inside a car: the event data recorder, more commonly known as the black box.

About 96 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States have the boxes, and in September 2014, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its way, all will have them.

The boxes have long been used by car companies to assess the performance of their vehicles. But data stored in the devices is increasingly being used to identify safety problems in cars and as evidence in traffic accidents and criminal cases. And the trove of data inside the boxes has raised privacy concerns, including questions about who owns the information, and what it can be used for, even as critics have raised questions about its reliability.

To federal regulators, law enforcement authorities and insurance companies, the data is an indispensable tool to investigate crashes.

The black boxes “provide critical safety information that might not otherwise be available to N.H.T.S.A. to evaluate what happened during a crash — and what future steps could be taken to save lives and prevent injuries,” David L. Strickland, the safety agency’s administrator, said in a statement.

But to consumer advocates, the data is only the latest example of governments and companies having too much access to private information. Once gathered, they say, the data can be used against car owners, to find fault in accidents or in criminal investigations.

“These cars are equipped with computers that collect massive amounts of data,” said Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based consumer group. “Without protections, it can lead to all kinds of abuse.”

What’s more, consumer advocates say, government officials have yet to provide consistent guidelines on how the data should be used.

“There are no clear standards that say, this is a permissible use of the data and this is not,” Ms. Barnes said.

Fourteen states, including New York, have passed laws that say that, even though the data belongs to the vehicle’s owner, law enforcement officials and those involved in civil litigation can gain access to the black boxes with a court order.

In these states, lawyers may subpoena the data for criminal investigations and civil lawsuits, making the information accessible to third parties, including law enforcement or insurance companies that could cancel a driver’s policy or raise a driver’s premium based on the recorder’s data.

In Mr. Murray’s case, a court order was not required to release the data to investigators. Massachusetts is not among the states to pass a law governing access to the data. Asked about the case, Mr. Murray, who did not contest the ticket and who resigned as lieutenant governor in June to become head of the Chamber of Commerce in Worcester, Mass., declined to comment.

Current regulations require that the presence of the black box be disclosed in the owner’s manual. But the vast majority of drivers who do not read the manual thoroughly may not know that their vehicle can capture and record their speed, brake position, seat belt use and other data each time they get behind the wheel.

Unlike the black boxes on airplanes, which continually record data including audio and system performance, the cars’ recorders capture only the few seconds surrounding a crash or air bag deployment. A separate device extracts the data, which is then analyzed through computer software.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a Washington-based trade association that represents 12 automakers including General Motors and Chrysler, said it supported the mandate because the recorders helped to monitor passenger safety.

“Event data recorders help our engineers and researchers understand how cars perform in the real world, and one of our priorities for E.D.R.’s continues to be preserving consumer privacy,” said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the trade association. “Automakers don’t access E.D.R. data without consumer permission, and we believe that any government requirements to install E.D.R.’s on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy.”

Beyond the privacy concerns, though, critics have questioned the data’s reliability.

In 2009, Anthony Niemeyer died after crashing a rented Ford Focus in Las Vegas. His widow, Kathryn, sued both Ford Motor and Hertz, contending that the air bag system failed to deploy.

The black box, however, derailed Ms. Niemeyer’s assertion that her husband had been traveling fast enough for the air bag to deploy.

Though Ms. Niemeyer lost the suit last year, her lawyer, Daniel T. Ryan of St. Louis, was successful in excluding the black box data as evidence on the grounds that the device is not fully reliable. The judge in the case ruled that because an engineer working on behalf of the defense retrieved the data, the plaintiffs, who maintained there were errors, had no way to independently verify it.

“It’s data that has not been shown to be absolutely reliable,” Mr. Ryan said. “It’s not black and white.”

The origins of black boxes, which are the size of about two decks of cards and are situated under the center console, date to the 1990 model year, when General Motors introduced them to conduct quality studies. Since then, their use and the scope of the data they collect has expanded.

The lack of standardization among manufacturers has made it difficult to extract the data, most notably during the investigations into the crashes caused by sudden, unintended acceleration in some Toyota vehicles.

Until recently, crash investigators needed an automaker’s proprietary reader as well as the expertise to analyze the data. The safety administration’s regulations will help enable universal access to the data by using a commercially available tool. At the same time, police departments are receiving training on the new regulations. In Romulus, N.Y., last week, the Collision Safety Institute, a consultancy in San Diego, helped teach New York State Police investigators how to read the devices.

But privacy advocates have expressed concern that the data collected will only grow to include a wider time frame and other elements like GPS and location-based services.

“The rabbit hole goes very deep when talking about this stuff,” said Thomas Kowalick, an expert in event data recorders and a former co-chairman of the federal committee that set the standard for black boxes.

Today, the boxes have spawned a cottage industry for YouTube videos on how to expunge the data. And Mr. Kowalick, seeing an opportunity, invented a device that safeguards access to in-vehicle electronics networks. It is controlled by the vehicle’s owner with a key and is useful in the event of theft, he said.

“For most of the 100-year history of the car, it used to be ‘he said, she said,’ ” Mr. Kowalick said. “That’s no longer going to be the way.”

Bill Vlasic contributed reporting.
 

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We aren't very good with subpuenas as it is. They will be manipulated by law enforcement. Quick and easy access to activity records? Just like getting pulled over for a speeding ticket and then a cop asking you "can i search your car", nothing good will come out...except this time they wont ask YOU, and they'll ask someone who'll rubberstamp an OK.

The thing about this is that they will not only have access to a certain time but entire time periods...say, the whole time you've owned a car. I can see it now: "He's had an extensive record of quick lane changes and speeding and sensors indicate prior accidents".
 

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Next thing you know, insurance companies WILL require a data log of your vehicles black box...
This has been a thing since ODBII rolled out in the early 90s.

The few seconds your ECU records may be damning, that Gieco bullshit where they have you transmitting off of the sub-dash port is plane out frightening.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
They already are, Progressive giving a discount to use one is no different than a fee to not.

Yeah. I've seen the TV adds on that. I wonder if someone has gotten screwed by the Progressive Dongle in hopes of getting a discount. Maybe not(?)

I guess is all about data collectiong for them. Get a data sample from a few users. No penalties but come a year or two, across the board premium increases to account for 'market changes'.
 

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So much fail in this thread. Once again people with no knowledge of something running around like chicken little.

Since I have actually been trained in EDR recovery and have done it many times, it ONLY records a few seconds prior to a crash event (it records on a loop. there isn't some truck sized hard drive to record the last 11 years worth of driving :eek:nfloor), and the only things it records are indicated speed, if the seat belts were plugged into the receiver end (shuts off the chime & light), accelerator level, and braking level. So no, there is no way to see if you were changing lanes without a turn signal. However there are ways to determine if a turn signal, headlight, or brake light bulb was on at time of impact. LED lights can not be read. The EDR does give things useful to crash reconstruction like Delta V and yaw. In PA we can only retrieve it with owner's consent or a search warrant. It doesn't get read on the road side. In many cases we remove the module which requires some dis-assembly of the vehicle. Since it's usually a crashed car that's no problem.

I'd be faaaaaaar more worried and upset over shit like the Progressive OBD II recorder then some phantom police boogie man getting EDR data.
 
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This has been a thing since ODBII rolled out in the early 90s.

The few seconds your ECU records may be damning, that Gieco bullshit where they have you transmitting off of the sub-dash port is plane out frightening.
In concept, yes.

In actuality, the one I've heard doing it is progressive (though I'm in no way saying geico isn't - I just haven't heard of it).

As for Progressive - it's not transmitting everything...or, in fact, anything. It's logging how hard you hit the gas and brake and what times you drive. I don't think it even has / tracks GPS. That's the state I knew of it in a year or so ago.

You drive around with it for whatever period of time and send it back with its data logged onboard. If they feel like it, they stop charging you as much as everyone else.
 

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So much fail in this thread. Once again people with no knowledge of something running around like chicken little.

Since I have actually been trained in EDR recovery and have done it many times, it ONLY records a few seconds prior to a crash event (it records on a loop. there isn't some truck sized hard drive to record the last 11 years worth of driving :eek:nfloor), and the only things it records are indicated speed, if the seat belts were plugged into the receiver end (shuts off the chime & light), accelerator level, and braking level. So no, there is no way to see if you were changing lanes without a turn signal. However there are ways to determine if a turn signal, headlight, or brake light bulb was on at time of impact. LED lights can not be read. The EDR does give things useful to crash reconstruction like Delta V and yaw. In PA we can only retrieve it with owner's consent or a search warrant. It doesn't get read on the road side. In many cases we remove the module which requires some dis-assembly of the vehicle. Since it's usually a crashed car that's no problem.

I'd be faaaaaaar more worried and upset over shit like the Progressive OBD II recorder then some phantom police boogie man getting EDR data.

Yeah right, and When I bought my GM car the first year OnStar came out, they had the ability to track your car and shut it down if they chose to. They lied. They lied about it for years.

I am not trying to impugn your education or experience as an accident investigator. What I am saying is that unless you were one of the programmers who wrote the code for the black boxes, you only know what you have been told what the black boxes record.

Too bad the post archives on this forum don't go back far enough, but I was complaining about what OnStar could do, and was being called an idiot for believeing it all thw way back in 2004 and 2005
 
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Yeah right, and When I bought my GM car the first year OnStar came out, they had the ability to track your car and shut it down if they chose to. They lied. They lied about it for years.

I am not trying to impugn your education or experience as an accident investigator. What I am saying is that unless you were one of the programmers who wrote the code for the black boxes, you only know what you have been told what the black boxes record.

Too bad the post archives on this forum don't go back far enough, but I was complaining about what OnStar could do, and was being called an idiot for believeing it all thw way back in 2004 and 2005
OnStar is different. That can track vehicles through GPS.
 

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So much fail in this thread. Once again people with no knowledge of something running around like chicken little.

Since I have actually been trained in EDR recovery and have done it many times, it ONLY records a few seconds prior to a crash event (it records on a loop. there isn't some truck sized hard drive to record the last 11 years worth of driving :eek:nfloor), and the only things it records are indicated speed, if the seat belts were plugged into the receiver end (shuts off the chime & light), accelerator level, and braking level. So no, there is no way to see if you were changing lanes without a turn signal. However there are ways to determine if a turn signal, headlight, or brake light bulb was on at time of impact. LED lights can not be read. The EDR does give things useful to crash reconstruction like Delta V and yaw. In PA we can only retrieve it with owner's consent or a search warrant. It doesn't get read on the road side. In many cases we remove the module which requires some dis-assembly of the vehicle. Since it's usually a crashed car that's no problem.

I'd be faaaaaaar more worried and upset over shit like the Progressive OBD II recorder then some phantom police boogie man getting EDR data.
Just look at the size USB drives, CF and SD cards that hold 16+gigs of data. It will not take much large black boxes to store more data. Then how longer till the government mandates the black box transmit that data when queried by the LEO while you are driving down the road.
 

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Just look at the size USB drives, CF and SD cards that hold 16+gigs of data. It will not take much large black boxes to store more data. Then how longer till the government mandates the black box transmit that data when queried by the LEO while you are driving down the road.
That's a good argument to a potentially slippery slope ahead, but doesn't change the current technology in use. And for the record I'm against non-search warranted release of personal information. I'm a Constitutionalist at heart.
 

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Well if it records accelerator usage, I would be fucked.

My truck is probably at 3/4 throttle away from every single stop light. railing through 4 gears to get to cruising speed is not something I like waiting around for.

My bike too. I waste no time in getting up to speed. I'm not launching away from every light, but I'm not lazy about it either.

Dan: You bet your ass it'll get more and more intricate, and the tech will get more and more nanny-esque, till they can tell from the shock absorber undulations whether I was banging my girl in the front or the back seat.

This kind of thing is NEVER left at a point of "oh well, we can only see this much!"
 

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Well if it records accelerator usage, I would be fucked.
Your accelerator position itself won't tell them much. It will be more whilst approaching a stop sign did you brake? no change likely asleep or drunk etc. Royal tiger said the last few seconds only (its probably more like 10 IMO). So while the individual readings won't get you in strife it will be part of the overall picture.
 

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There is no way they can require you to retrofit vehicles from before 2014.
That was settled with seat belts back in '68. To this very day. If I am driving around in a '67 GTO, I do not have to wear a seat belt.
That means the value (price) of pre-owned, pre black box vehicles will go up. If enough voters get upset, Politicians will get thrown out of office. The Pols that want to stay on the gravy train will put an end to the law.
We will have a GOP Senate to go with a GOP house in 2015. That might make a difference. MIGHT.
 

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There is no way they can require you to retrofit vehicles from before 2014.
That was settled with seat belts back in '68. To this very day. If I am driving around in a '67 GTO, I do not have to wear a seat belt.
That means the value (price) of pre-owned, pre black box vehicles will go up. If enough voters get upset, Politicians will get thrown out of office. The Pols that want to stay on the gravy train will put an end to the law.
We will have a GOP Senate to go with a GOP house in 2015. That might make a difference. MIGHT.
Not true in California.

Bottom line, black boxes are a bad idea for those who want privacy. But then again, even our government is pissing all over our rights, so why not let private businesses exercise their monopolistic powers to help their corporate buddies? Nothing new there folks.
 

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It's also a bad idea, for the sake of privacy, to carry a cellphone constantly and use a debit card.

But that's another story. Just remember. We keep doing this to ourselves.
 

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Your accelerator position itself won't tell them much. It will be more whilst approaching a stop sign did you brake? no change likely asleep or drunk etc. Royal tiger said the last few seconds only (its probably more like 10 IMO). So while the individual readings won't get you in strife it will be part of the overall picture.
Sounds like a great way to skew the picture. How many times do we, as riders, simply swerve out of the way of something which has crossed our path?

I highly doubt they'd be monitoring steering inputs on a bike. that'd be a tad difficult.

So now, if I have no memory of being cut off, and the pretty box says I didn't brake. . .
who is at fault?

I bet they go 50/50, because I didn't attempt to stop.

Sorry, this kind of shit is shit I hate.
 
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I think the black boxes are justified for manufacturers to protect themselves. Someone sues them saying their product malfunctioned, now they have a way to show if it did or didn't. I don’t like Police being able to access the information though.

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