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Black boxes becoming more common in cars

Marc Perton

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Think your car is spying on you? If you're driving a late-model GM car, as well as a handful of cars from other makers, you may just be right. According to a detailed report on, automakers are continuing to add airplane-style black boxes to cars, with GM leading the way. Analysts quoted by estimate that up to 65% of all new vehicles sold last year had black boxes, which typically store a few seconds of data about a car's speed, direction and other vitals. In the event of an accident, the data can help determine liability. However, privacy issues have been raised by groups like the Consumers Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, since automakers are not currently required to tell consumers that the boxes are there. However, given that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recommended that the boxes be required on all new vehicles, you should just assume one is there, and drive accordingly. Either that or next time you're getting your ride pimped, have them check for the box while they're at it.

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