Since 2014 American drivers have had to put up with a “black box” device that automatically records various items of information about their vehicle and how they’re driving it. Those recordings can be – and have been – extracted from vehicles after accidents and used as evidence to exonerate, or convict, their drivers. Nobody knows exactly how much information is recorded, or what it is, as manufacturers are free to design their recording devices as they please without having to tell their customers all about them.
Based on a separate NHTSA regulation passed in 2012, if a vehicle today does have an event data recorder, it must track 15 specific data points, including speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seatbelt use, and, in the event of a crash, force of impact and whether airbags deployed.
Depending on the automaker and car model, an event data recorder may capture many more functions, though car companies aren’t required to disclose exactly what those are.
There’s more at the link.
It’s rumored that with the advent of automated driving systems, the recordings will basically cover anything and everything a driver does, from eye movements, to body posture, to hours behind the wheel, to speed, cornering and all the rest. GM’s OnStar and similar services from other manufacturers have long been able to listen to conversations inside your vehicle, slow down or stop it if requested by police, and perform many other privacy-intrusive functions without your knowledge. The new technology is simply a more advanced version of what’s been with us for a couple of decades.
Now Europe is to face the same thing, if not even more intrusive.
Starting this summer, all new cars sold in the EU will by law contain a ‘black box’ accessible by authorities that records driving data.
From July 6, 2022, all car manufacturers will be forced to fit new models with a system that keeps track of technical data.
The data recorded will include “the vehicle’s speed, braking, steering wheel angle, its incline on the road, and whether the vehicle’s various safety systems were in operation, starting with seatbelts.”
. . .
Authorities claim the data will be “anonymized,” meaning the information can’t be used to identify the owner of the vehicle, although only the incredibly naive would plausibly believe that.
For decades, government have been pushing for all cars to be fitted with black boxes that track location data.
The ultimate dystopian scenario involves giving police the power to utilize similar technology to completely disable the functioning of a vehicle if the driver is deemed to have committed an infraction.
This doesn’t need to be a criminal offense, if the pursuit of social credit score schemes continues to become more invasive, it would eventually be used as a form of punishment for everything from unpaid utility bills to offensive comments posted on social media.
Again, more at the link.
I hadn’t thought of the use of such devices in conjunction with “social credit score schemes”, but it’s entirely feasible. Imagine what would happen if insurance companies were to refuse to insure drivers who did not allow them to access their vehicle’s “black box” on demand? That would take those drivers off the road as effectively as confiscating their vehicle. The insurers could then use the data they obtain to analyze what they consider “risky behavior”, and use that to inform other coverage (life insurance, health insurance, etc.). Those defined as “risky” due to their driving behavior might find themselves severely penalized and restricted in many other areas as well. For example, what if no landlord will rent to a “risky” tenant?
That’s a scary thought . . . but it’s by no means impossible.