Federal regulators are proposing that new automobiles sold in the United States after September 2014 come equipped with black boxes, so-called “event data recorders” that chronicle everything from how fast a vehicle was traveling, the number of passengers and even a car’s location.
Clearly, regulators’ intentions are about safety, as the devices would trigger — for about 30 seconds — during so-called “events” such as during sudden breaking, acceleration, swerving or other types of driving that might lead to an accident. The data, which can either be downloaded remotely or by a physical connection, depending upon a vehicle’s model, is to be used by manufacturers and regulators “primarily for the purpose of post-crash assessment of vehicle safety system performance,” according to an announcement in the Federal Register. (.pdf)
But privacy advocates are raising the alarm bells, and want the agency to require data safeguards, including demands that data be anonymized, and to prohibit the marketing of it.