Shocking News: Government Motors Likes Black Boxes

Monday, March 22, 2010
Posted in category Uncategorized

From an article in the Detroit News:

General Motors Co. supports legislation to require so-called “black boxes” in vehicles to collect crash data, and it is willing to support additional “reasonable” auto safety legislation.

Meeting with reporters Friday, GM’s new vice president for government relations, Robert E. Ferguson, said the company backs legislation in the works from Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, to mandate event data recorders.

“I think EDRs ought to be in every car,” Ferguson said. “Devices ought to be readily available so that law enforcement can find out what happens to vehicles involved in crashes.”

The mandate for Big Brother boxes on all vehicles is closer than you may think. Of course, libertarians interested in this issue know the real reason for the black box tyranny – so the state can record the events of individuals and use the information against them to back up its threats, extortion, and criminal charges. Each little movement will be recorded, giving the state an immense amount of information on your whereabouts, your hobbies, your friends, your job, and your schedule. These data recorders will record your actions so that so-called “experts” can interpret your behavior and spin the story on you any way they wish.

It can be said that the black box (or EDR) is part of the vehicle, making it private property. This brings up the question – in the case of an accident, will the authorities (any state agency) have the power to snatch the property without the permission of the owner, or will they need the owner’s consent?

This is from a 2004 article on USA Today:

For example: When AutoWeek conducted handling tests on a mundane Chevy Malibu Maxx hatchback earlier this year, the recorder automatically alerted GM OnStar officials, who called the car to make sure the driver was OK after a particularly severe cornering maneuver. The driver was, but later said he resented the intrusion.

Also from the story:

In fact, Davis Instruments of Hayward, Calif., sells a black box called CarChip that will record throttle position and engine parameters for up to 300 hours of driving. Parents can use it to monitor their teenagers’ driving habits, for example.

Progressive, an auto-insurance company, is running a pilot program with 5,000 drivers in Minnesota using a device similar to CarChip. It records up to six months of driving data, including vehicle mileage, time of day, and speed. The program, called TripSense, lets drivers choose whether to hand over data from their recorders to the insurer. Based on their habits behind the wheel, they can get discounts on their premiums of 5 to 25%.

But once any data is collected, some worry that it might be subpoenaed. If a police officer pulls you over while you’re not speeding, “will your EDR tell him that five miles or five days earlier you were?” asked AutoWeek magazine’s Bob Gritzinger in a November article.

Recorder data may also present problems for drivers with automobile warranties. Some wonder if vehicle manufacturers are using safety data to void warranties. Some people in Internet chat rooms have alleged Mitsubishi is doing just that to those who drive its racy Evolution VIII in amateur weekend races.

Imagine what the state, along with the corporate state giants, can do with that information? Of course Government Motors is quite ecstatic about such devious endeavors where it can play a vital role.

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7 Responses to Shocking News: Government Motors Likes Black Boxes

  1. Tom Osborne says:

    March 22nd, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Naziism, pure and simple.

  2. Christian says:

    March 23rd, 2010 at 1:08 am

    In fatal or major injury accidents police investigators will often download the information from vehicles equipped with a black “rat” box or remove it to access the data without obtaining consent or a search warrant. There’s case law that requires investigators to obtain a search warrant before accessing the black box or to download information. We are living in dangerous times as the power of the state invades our lives and property.

  3. liberranter says:

    March 23rd, 2010 at 9:56 am

    If you should ever buy a car that is equipped with one of these things, or even with a built-in GPS or OnStar system, tear the damned thing out! For the life of me, I cannot understand the failure of John and Jane Sheeple to grasp the simple fact that advanced technology is a[n often lethal] double-edged sword. That technology which simplifies your life can also be co-opted by the State to make your life hell on earth! Consider the latest OnStar ads touting the fact that they can remotely shut down an OnStar-equipped car’s engine in the event that the car is stolen in order to prevent high-speed pursuits. Of course the very first thing I thought of is “yes, and the State can also gain control of that technology (perhaps they already have?) to restrict your movement on a whim.”

    Wake up, people!

  4. miles says:

    March 24th, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Karen,

    Now I understand why the Toyota situation is being so built-up in the media. We need “black boxes” to figure out why these cars are crashing, right? LOL. Now I think I understand the reason that is being blown rather out-of-proportion in the media. Concievably your every movement in every car you owned after these boxes were installed could be entered into a database. They may wink and nod and psuedo-claim that this will help us prosecute terrorists or whatever, but it could be used as an excellent blackmail tool against politicians and people. If it can be done…..it usually will be done. I will only buy a car from GM if they will disable this Huxleyian monstrosity. GM is definitely building a more attractive, fuel efficient car these days, so this is a shame.

  5. Michael says:

    March 24th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    These type of systems are not only susceptible to misuse by the state, but also by “private” saboteurs.

    Over 100 vehicles were “digitally vandalized” (my words) by a disgruntled worker in Texas recently; he allegedly set off the horn and alarm systems remotely and immobilized most of them: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/03/hacker-bricks-cars/. OnStar, remote disabling, black boxes are a few reasons why I’m happy to own a basic 6-year-old car that features “luxuries” such as a single disk CD player and electronically-powered sunroof. I don’t want any of these intrusive devices that are peddled as “amenities”, although I find myself using my portable GPS frequently.

  6. Charles says:

    March 24th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    That pilot program from Progressive has gone national. I learned of it last year when I was getting quotes for car insurance. Sure, the discounts may be good, but the kicker is you must agree to have the monthly premium automatically taken out of your bank account. As I prefer to control how I spend my money I decided to just say no.

  7. liberranter says:

    March 25th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    …the kicker is you must agree to have the monthly premium automatically taken out of your bank account. As I prefer to control how I spend my money I decided to just say no.

    Excellent call, Charles! My wife and I purchased life insurance many years ago from a company that INSISTED that we arrange monthly premium payments through automatic deduction. Immediately after that payment plan took effect, the insurance company double-billed us for TWO CONSECUTIVE MONTHS, causing absolute havoc to our household finances. We canceled our policies immediately. That was the first, last, and ONLY time we have ever allowed automatic deductions from our checking account for anything. In fact, we recently almost purchased a Pre-Paid Legal[TM] subscription, but refused to consummate the deal after Pre-Paid Legal told us that they only accept payment through automatic deduction.

    Perhaps if more people were consistent in their refusal to implement this DANGEROUS form of banking, more businesses will get the message and fewer of them will insist upon it. (I refuse to allow the IRS to electronically deposit income tax refunds into my checking account for the same reason. These are some of the LAST people to whom I want to authorize any form of direct access to my bank account.)

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