The spy in your car, automotive black boxes.

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Do you know you are being spied on by a little black box in your boot but it’s all right, don’t panic, as it’s for your safety and I bet you didn’t even know about it, did you? OK so some of you might be clued up on what is really going on but did you know it is unqualified, unregulated, not standardised or even clearly understood in law.

Did you know what it was doing, while you were driving down the street? Did you know it’s recording data without regulation and it’s not even clear what it is for, let alone how to get the information that it keeps in its store? But they do of that you can be sure.

The National Highway, Traffic Safety, Administration Agency is now considering later this year, a proposed requirement were all new road vehicles will need to contain a recorder for capturing event data, more commonly known as the “black box”. “A device, not dissimilar to those found on aeroplanes. Vehicle entries are recorded into it in any event of having a crash, showing the final seconds before impact. This snapshot can be viewed by at least three agencies, law enforcement, insurance providers and car makers.

The device can not be turned off and you will likely not know much more about it other than the legal statement that you will find in the instruction booklet, if you even bothered to take a look.

Like all types of modern day spying equipment, it is not spying if you were told about. But would you really look for something you wouldn’t expect to be there, that is free for others to share?

The proposal appears to some to be over the top, an over reaching form of governmental approach, or perhaps an attempt by Uncle Sam the Big Brother, insurance providers and even car manufacturers to keep track of what car drivers are doing. Don’t worry if you don’t drive a car fitted with air-bags, the chances are there isn’t a device in your boot, under the hood or the floor.

Car manufacturers have long implemented electronic recording equipment in their cars, and the National Highway, Traffic Safety Administration, since the end of 2006 required manufacturers to tell customers about the devices. The federal rule outlines what information can be contained and provided, to be used only for ensuring the safety of vehicles.

National Highway, Traffic Safety Administration, is now considering the proposal that would “increase availability and future use of EDR data” in other words, creating a requirement for all cars to have the devices fitted. The Proposals are expected to be motioned later this year, 2011. There will be a separate discussion to outline exactly what type of data should be collected.

Both of the proposals are following rules that were adopted in 2006, but how they will affect you depends on where you live as well as what data points are being registered. How much you will be affected in the future might depend on the new standards that will spell out what data is or isn’t collected and who gets access to it. What has happened to all the data already collected, is it still under the floor, who’s seen it and what was it really for, are they the answers you really should know?

To find out more you better take a look at automotive black boxes.

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