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Senate black box bill could see 2015 car models ship with data recorders

Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
April 20, 2012
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Black boxes aren't just for airplanes anymore, it seems. Though car companies have been installing the devices at their discretion since the early aughts, a new bill, ominously entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, has just passed Senate approval containing a provision that would mandate the inclusion of these Event Data Recorders in all automobiles produced from 2015 and on. Privacy fans may already be reaching for those protesting pitchforks, but keep in mind this legislation still needs to pass the House of Representatives on its way to becoming law. And given its other, more controversial elements (i.e. revoking passports for unpaid back taxes), it could still head back to the recycle bin. If it does pass Congressional muster, you'll still have ownership of any collected data, so long as the court doesn't require you to hand it over. Regardless of the outcome, we wouldn't breathe a sigh of relief just yet -- your car might be snooping on you as we speak. Just check your owner's manual.

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