The White House has said that they want black box data recorders in all cars made in the near future. While many cars in America already have the black boxes, it raises many privacy concerns.
Congress failed to pass legislation that would have required the use of event data recorders, or EDRs, in 2010. That prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to consider its own mandate. A review was completed this week by the White House Office of Management and Budget and final regulations will likely follow early next year.
While CNBC appears the be advocating for the black boxes, there are issues that need to be dealt with before making these boxes a requirement in all cars.
Some insurance companies, such as Progressive, already have little devices that you can attach to your car to record certain things. They promote it as a way to monitor your teen driver and they give anyone who uses it a discount. Sure, it’s a discount now, but you know that, eventually, it’s going to be a requirement. That’s how it works. In some states where black boxes would be questionable legally, they will just offer a discount to have access to that data and, when all insurance companies in the state do this, you are essentially paying more for your privacy.
Considering the fact that the average driver makes a small mistake once every two miles, how long before insurance companies try to blackball you, which they could do at any time, for any reason, and you would have very little control over their decisions why. What if you consistently drive 69 MPH in a 65 MPH zone and the insurance company doesn’t like that. You’re tossed off the insurance. Sure, that’s technically speeding, but everyone does it. What happens when you always stop 1.5 seconds at a stop sign and not the 2 seconds dictated by law? Your insurance can drop you then, too. How about you take corners too hard, you break too heavily, or don’t put your headlights on at the right time? You might think these are a stretch, but when it comes to money, insurance companies are quite petty and like their profits. They might not blackball you, but they’ll find a way to charge you more for insurance.
Given that the White House is going to give their approval, what recourse is there to fight against it? You could make sure to buy a car that does not have a black box and keep it as long as possible because the White House seems determined to make these a requirement.
The politicians don’t really care about this. Politician reply to their constituents with their standard form letter, indicating that they never read the letter. Individuals call and leave messages or speak with someone in the office, but never the politician themselves. They all spew forth the safety issues and that you should just go along with it because they’re looking out for your safety and everyone’s best interests. You have a few politicians that pay attention and make a big stink, which is why it hasn’t happened yet, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, apparently, can make this a requirement and there’s little anyone can do about it because so few politicians actually care.
This is a privacy issue. If a driver has done something wrong, then let the courts petition for their private information. It shouldn’t be readily available to anyone, be it police, insurance company, or private individual. If the government needs a warrant for private information, then they should as well. Your phone records used to be available only by court order. That’s not true now. Given the fact that NSA whistle blower blah, has said the government is already monitoring and documenting everyone on the internet, why should be believe the White House when they say this will only be used for accident investigations? Then again, it’s for our own safety right? Only bad guys would want to keep any of this information private and you should just do as you’re told.