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GM comes out in support of black box legislation

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GM comes out in support of black box legislation

by Sam Abuelsamid (RSS feed) on Mar 1st 2010 at 9:29AM

As of today, when incidents like sudden acceleration happen, it's extremely difficult to diagnose conclusively what the cause was. Without a mechanism to track exactly what the driver did, what the vehicle sensors detected and how the vehicle responded, it usually ends up being a he said/she said situation.

Thus, in the wake of recent allegations of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, a movement has begun to equip all cars with black box data recorders.

Representative Gene Green (D-TX) has already introduced legislation that would mandate the installation of such event data recorders, or black boxes, in all new vehicles.

General Motors has now come out publicly in favor of the proposal. GM has been installing event data recorders in its cars since 1995 as part of the air bag system. In accidents where the airbags are triggered, GM can use the data stored in the EDR for diagnostic purposes to improve the function of its safety systems. The recorders save the last few seconds of data before a crash from a number of sensors. GM is not only supporting the installation of these recorders in all vehicles, but also supports making the data accessible so that accident causes can be more accurately determined.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/01/gm-comes-out-in-support-of-black-box-legislation/

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Will Toyota continue to push it? Will their supporters stand in the dark and come out to cheer once they hear what Toyota plans to do? Okay, let's hear it folks. Will you inadvertently support Toyota's cause for your rights against Big Brother?

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<sarcasm>

Yay! Toyota's giant fail costs us and our future generations our privacy!

</sarcasm>

It was only a matter of time before something happened to give the legislators a chance to "protect us". Now our cars will be able to testify against us. Next thing you know, they'll expand this device to tax us, ticket us and track us. Its the start for the electronic version of "Papers, please, comrade."

Sure, there are benefits to a black box system... but the potential for misuse is difficult to ignore.

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<sarcasm>

Yay! Toyota's giant fail costs us and our future generations our privacy!

</sarcasm>

It was only a matter of time before something happened to give the legislators a chance to "protect us". Now our cars will be able to testify against us. Next thing you know, they'll expand this device to tax us, ticket us and track us. Its the start for the electronic version of "Papers, please, comrade."

Sure, there are benefits to a black box system... but the potential for misuse is difficult to ignore.

What potential for misuse? Many automakers have used this for decades, no problems. In CA, vehicle owners own the data, not the companies.

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What potential for misuse? Many automakers have used this for decades, no problems. In CA, vehicle owners own the data, not the companies.

Can the data be used against you against your will?

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Can the data be used against you against your will?

I would think that would depend on the EULA for the car's software.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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The black box is an automakers friend when they need proof.

The Back Box not only helps in warranty issues but also if there is an accident and the blame is placed on the car the box can often prove it is the driver who was at fault. Drivers lie and black boxes don't.

If the goverment will not pass tort reform then the companies need to protect themselves.

Heck some are paying people to check web sites for Autocross times and street racing info to refuse some warranties.

Plus a remark like this is a good Slap at Toyota.

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What potential for misuse? Many automakers have used this for decades, no problems. In CA, vehicle owners own the data, not the companies.

Decades?!? Since 1995 is hardly decades. So far, the GM airbag system only holds a small amount of data, but it has already been used against drivers here on the east coast. It don't matter who owns the data when a routine subpoena gets that put into court documents, testifying against you.

And in Toyota's case they are the only ones who can decipher the data. Are they doing it for car owners? No... they do it for their own use and the government. That doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

With things like CAN where the radio talks to the airbags, is this data even properly secured? Does getting your emissions checked at a inspection station get your listening habits of Anarchy Radio reported to the government? Sure, not now... but look at the stuff that the databases know about you in a the last decade... and are being put together in 2010. And look at the "features", such as radio transmitters in OBD4, that are proposed to be added to your car and think about the ramifications of all this info sitting in databases that get cross referenced 10, 25 years from now.

If, in CA, you own the data, can you invoke the 5th amendment and refuse to have your car's OBD2 info used to get through vehicle inspection? Seems to me that the moment that the inspector sees the yellow CEL, your car has essentially testified against you.

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The real question is who own the data in the black box?

I know what would happen to a black box if it could be used against me, or shall I say I don't know where it would disappear to!

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As far as I have read the data is GM's. It belongs to them and can not be released unless ordered by a court for a investigation usally involving a death.

But as far as things go everything is in flux and this is an area that I think can and will be exploited for good and bad. The legal people need to set the ground rules on this and constutional rights here before it get taken too far out of hand.

I am not positive on all this but this is what I got from some of the things I have read.

The real danger is this like most other technologies anymore can give goverment more control over your life that they should not take or have.

Even if the present goverment does not exploit it the next one could and use it against it's own people.

There are just so many things in technology that need to be addressed with our rights and seldom do you hear anyone willing to set the standards to protect us today or in the future.

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Man on man, this thread sure has brought out the conspiracy theorists.

Ok

  1. Detroit has had black boxes in their vehicles for some time now, this is nothing new.
  2. The owners can get the data in the black box read, it's Toyota owners who cannot.
  3. If it proves more owners are at fault for an accident than would otherwise be, so be it. You do realize we are talking about the human race right? America no less. Most people shouldn't be allowed on the road in the first place. Just today I drove by a four car pileup because some idiot in an old Sable rear ended a line of 3 cars stopped in the turning lane. It was going fast enough that the two cars in front of it hit the one in front. Add to that, there was a child in the backseat, not properly restrained (no booster) of the one that caused the accident.

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Decades?!? Since 1995 is hardly decades. So far, the GM airbag system only holds a small amount of data, but it has already been used against drivers here on the east coast. It don't matter who owns the data when a routine subpoena gets that put into court documents, testifying against you.

You're basing the 1995 on the article. The article is oversimplified--GM has used "black boxes" in select models since 1973. Obviously, the earliest applications were much more limited in their data collection, but GM has implemented some form of this technology since 1973. LINK

And in Toyota's case they are the only ones who can decipher the data. Are they doing it for car owners? No... they do it for their own use and the government. That doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Yes, but CA law establishes vehicle owners as the owners of black box data. There have been a handful of cases where Californians have sued Toyota for black box data. I don't recall the specifics involved, or if Toyota complied or whatnot, but I came across this information recently in the rash of articles about Toyota and its "proprietary" black box technology.

With things like CAN where the radio talks to the airbags, is this data even properly secured? Does getting your emissions checked at a inspection station get your listening habits of Anarchy Radio reported to the government? Sure, not now... but look at the stuff that the databases know about you in a the last decade... and are being put together in 2010. And look at the "features", such as radio transmitters in OBD4, that are proposed to be added to your car and think about the ramifications of all this info sitting in databases that get cross referenced 10, 25 years from now.

The big misconception here is that you can claim "privacy" when you drive around. Not so. The vast majority of roads are "public" and thus, while driving around you are not entitled to privacy as you are out in public.

If, in CA, you own the data, can you invoke the 5th amendment and refuse to have your car's OBD2 info used to get through vehicle inspection? Seems to me that the moment that the inspector sees the yellow CEL, your car has essentially testified against you.

This is an interesting legal question. I'm not sure if this has been an issue for the courts to decide. My guess is no, not yet, but if your conspiracy theories pan out, it probably will be. I could honestly see it going either way, but my guess is that no, you couldn't, because of what I said above: that when driving around on public roads, you are not entitled to privacy as you are out "in public."

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That is just it. Driving is not a right but a privilege. It is a public act in a public place if you are on a goverment maintained roadway. I see no privacy here.

As for who owns the info and how, when and why it may be used needs to be addressed on a national level. It needs to be addressed based on constitutional law. If every state comes up with different rights in each state it will be a massive mess.

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The big misconception here is that you can claim "privacy" when you drive around. Not so. The vast majority of roads are "public" and thus, while driving around you are not entitled to privacy as you are out in public.

This is an interesting legal question. I'm not sure if this has been an issue for the courts to decide. My guess is no, not yet, but if your conspiracy theories pan out, it probably will be. I could honestly see it going either way, but my guess is that no, you couldn't, because of what I said above: that when driving around on public roads, you are not entitled to privacy as you are out "in public."

question. when a policeman pulls you over, is what's in your car, public to his eyes? does that include what's hidden like everything in your truck, under your hood, anywhere? how does this relate to data in a hidden away box?

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Well, from the former thread regarding data recorders:

While the majority of cars and trucks sold in the U.S. today typically have EDRs, only General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have allowed vehicle owners access to the data.

One particular case against Toyota stated that a woman wished to have the data of her accident retrieved in order to prove that the she was not at fault, but that the car malfunctioned. Toyota refused her request.

EDRs differ among auto makers, and even within a brand’s lineup. But most record events just prior to and following a frontal crash.

Still enough info for most to potentially identify if they were at fault or not for an accident. To me, they are worth having in order to provide more evidence in a he-said-she-said accident argument.

GM’s EDRs date back to the 1970s, when it first began installing airbags and EDRs became standard on GM models when airbag laws went into effect in 1998. GM’s EDR data is owned by the vehicle owner, Adler says. The owner can access the data providing he can find a dealer or law-enforcement personnel with the proper tool.

The data also can be obtained by law enforcement via a subpoena, Adler says.

Toyota, and other foreign auto makers have not had such an open policy.

“Toyota will not honor EDR readout requests from private individuals or their attorneys,” Toyota says in 2008 online discussion.

The auto maker says its EDR readout tool is a “prototype,” adding there only is one such tool in the U.S. and “only specially designated Toyota personnel use it.”

Beyond this, Toyota will probably be putting the spin on the idea that they will have chosen to 'do the right thing for its customers' by allowing black box info to be retrieved; however, as the article states:

NHTSA’s EDR rules have been finalized and are set to take effect in September 2012 with ’13 model-year vehicles.

NHTSA will not require auto makers to install EDRs but will mandate the kinds of events recorded and their frequency. NHTSA also will require data from EDRs to be accessible to owners.

Toyota says it will comply with the 2012 requirement to make a download tool commercially available, but does not address a question of what percentage of its models will have EDRs by that time.

Medwell [Chris Medwell, a professional engineer specializing in black boxes for forensics firm Bloomberg Consulting Inc.] contends EDR data is reliable and admissible in court cases.

FULL THREAD

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question. when a policeman pulls you over, is what's in your car, public to his eyes? does that include what's hidden like everything in your truck, under your hood, anywhere? how does this relate to data in a hidden away box?

I thought all contents were public where 'probable cause' was enough for a search. It's not as though a car is searched willy-nilly, at any given moment. I would assume there is more than enough 'probable cause' to investigate the contents of a black box of the vehicle in question was involved in an accident.

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I thought all contents were public where 'probable cause' was enough for a search. It's not as though a car is searched willy-nilly, at any given moment. I would assume there is more than enough 'probable cause' to investigate the contents of a black box of the vehicle in question was involved in an accident.

probable cause....? if the owner says no to a search and one is still done, sounds illegal. only reason i bring this up, can't remember the person, but they got jailed for having someone else's prescription in their car, IIRC. is this concern related or a tangent?

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question.

You mean three questions.

when a policeman pulls you over, is what's in your car, public to his eyes?

Um, yes. If a police officer wants to search your car, (s)he can. You've never heard of this before?

does that include what's hidden like everything in your truck, under your hood, anywhere?
Ummmm...YES. You've really never heard of this happening? You've never heard about sobriety checkpoints being legal? You've never heard of drug runners getting busted? C'mon, for real?
how does this relate to data in a hidden away box?

Huh? I don't know why a police officer would try to plug into your car's computer to read the data. You, on the other hand, may want that data to exonerate yourself.

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probable cause....? if the owner says no to a search and one is still done, sounds illegal.

No.
only reason i bring this up, can't remember the person, but they got jailed for having someone else's prescription in their car, IIRC. is this concern related or a tangent?

This is an unrelated tangent.

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Um, yes. If a police officer wants to search your car, (s)he can. You've never heard of this before?

Ummmm...YES. You've really never heard of this happening? You've never heard about sobriety checkpoints being legal? You've never heard of drug runners getting busted? C'mon, for real?

Huh? I don't know why a police officer would try to plug into your car's computer to read the data. You, on the other hand, may want that data to exonerate yourself.

it sounds like what you're saying is police have the duty to spy on you, whether you're breaking a law or not. what's inside a car (your property) should be just like what's inside your house. a policeman stopping you for a traffic violation should be akin to knocking on your door for whatever reason, not opening your door and searching your house whether you're there or not.

but anyway, toyota's BB policy sounds like if a computer company claimed what's on your hard drive is their property, and you're only licensed to use it till something went wrong or you tried to share it. which is asinine, like the music industry's music sharing lawsuits.

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it sounds like what you're saying is police have the duty to spy on you, whether you're breaking a law or not. what's inside a car (your property) should be just like what's inside your house. a policeman stopping you for a traffic violation should be akin to knocking on your door for whatever reason, not opening your door and searching your house whether you're there or not.

You don't drive your house on public roads. Sounds like you need to do research on the laws so you better understand what's what.

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it sounds like what you're saying is police have the duty to spy on you,

That's not what I'm saying at all.

whether you're breaking a law or not.
Irrelevant.
what's inside a car (your property) should be just like what's inside your house.
No. I already explained this.
a policeman stopping you for a traffic violation should be akin to knocking on your door for whatever reason, not opening your door and searching your house whether you're there or not.
No. Again, I already explained this. Do you not pay attention? Your house is on private property. Your car, while you are driving in an area with public police patrols, is not.
but anyway, toyota's BB policy sounds like if a computer company claimed what's on your hard drive is their property, and you're only licensed to use it till something went wrong or you tried to share it. which is asinine, like the music industry's music sharing lawsuits.

This is nothing like the music industry. Again, another unrelated tangent.

You don't drive your house on public roads. Sounds like you need to do research on the laws so you better understand what's what.

He needs to research a lot more than just laws to better understand what's what.

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