Proposal calls for 'black box' to be installed in vehicles

Proposal for 'black box' to be installed in vehicles worries privacy advocates

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The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration is proposing that event data recorders, similar to those found in airplanes, be installed in all vehicles and light trucks by 2014.  The "black box" as it's sometimes called has privacy advocates concerned.

You may not even realize it, but big brother could be watching you right from under the hood of your car.  We asked Cory Wojnarowski, of Auto Wholesale Direct, where an event recorder  is usually located.

"In the ECU, the engine control module," he explains.  "Manufacturers have been sneaking these black boxes into cars for years now."

Attorney Lawrence Walters says event recorders were being installed, even before government regulations were set. "The requirements that the black box be in the car is coming up in 2014, but voluntarily manufacturers have been including these black boxes and event recorders for quite some time now."

He says everything you do in your car is most likely being recorded, adding, "Your position with GPS devices, how much braking you're using, how fast you're going, whether you're wearing a seatbelt, how hard you're taking a turn all those things are recorded."

And even though the information is being collected for accident data, Lawrence warns that it can be used in other ways. "If you're in a crash or any type of traffic incident, there's a lot of information that would be valuable to law enforcement or to lawyers or insurance companies who want to find out exactly what happened."

He says drivers should be concerned. "Privacy rights are being balanced against what useful information can be gained by evaluating these event recorders."

If you're interested in finding out if there's a black box in your car, check your owners manual.

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