Chrysler 300C & SRT8 Forums banner
1 - 20 of 105 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Black Boxes. Big Brother? Your 300 has one!

I have mixed opinions on this topic. Let me know yours.

States Debate Auto 'Black Box' Privacy
By JAMES WARDEN, AP

BISMARCK, N.D. (March 25) - Raymon Holmberg didn't know his new sedan came equipped with the long arm of the law. The dealer hadn't bothered to mention the ''black box,'' a computer chip that stores information on speed and seat belt use.

''When I bought my car,'' he said, ''I didn't realize I was also buying a highway patrolman to sit in the back seat.''

Holmberg, a state senator, believes his privacy was violated and is taking aim at black boxes. Lawmakers in 10 other states are also hoping to regulate black boxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The bill Holmberg is sponsoring - now up for Senate consideration after being approved Wednesday by the House - would require buyers to be told if their new car or truck is equipped with a black box and would prohibit the data from being used in court. Subscription services such as OnStar, which can be used to track a vehicle's movements, would be exempt.

Its most vocal critics are auto manufacturers. For General Motors, said lobbyist Thomas Kelsch, it makes no sense to bar information from the computer chip from being used in court.

''What's the societal good that would result from the suppression of valuable crash data?'' Kelsch asked.

But Holmberg, a Grand Forks Republican, again raises the privacy issue. He worries the data could be used to track driving habits or be used against a driver who has an accident.

''Most people don't realize these devices are in their vehicle, that the information recorded may be used against them and there's no sort of regulation about who owns that information,'' he said.

California has a law on the books requiring dealers and vehicle rental companies to inform drivers when a car has a black box. In New York it is illegal for rental companies to use global positioning system technology to track drivers and use the data to charge extra fees or penalties.

Accident investigators argue that the privacy concerns are overblown.

''These guys are trying to roll back North Dakota courts to the Dark Ages,'' said Jim Harris, owner of Harris Technical Services, a Florida-based accident investigation company. ''What are you going to do? Leave out videotapes?''

According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, about 15 percent of vehicles - or about 30 million cars and trucks - have black boxes. About 65 percent to 90 percent of 2004 cars and trucks have them, according to the NHTA.

Rusty Haight, director of the Collision Safety Institute, which researches crashes and trains accident investigators, said black boxes were introduced in cars along with air bags in the 1970s.

Air bag sensors already collected the information and it was a small step to allow researchers to see how well other systems were performing, Haight said.

North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Mark Bethke said crash investigators must have a warrant to access information from a recorder. He said the patrol collects such information less than once a month and has never used it in court.

John Buchanan, a Miami accident reconstruction expert, said investigators must compare what the recorder says to the physical evidence at an accident scene.

''I'm a big believer in the box,'' he said. ''But you cannot just take a box, read what it says and say that's what happened.''

Insurance companies already have limited access to some data.

State Farm requires its customers to help with investigations, including allowing insurance employees to look at their vehicles, said **** Luedke, a spokesman for the Illinois-based insurer.

Progressive Insurance began a voluntary program last year in which the company gives drivers a chip similar to a black box that can be used to transmit data, said spokeswoman Shannon Radigan.

Progressive offers drivers the possibility of a break on their insurance rates based on when, how much and how fast they drive, she said. The average discount is between 12 percent and 15 percent, she said.

North Dakota auto dealers say they have not heard many complaints about black boxes. Sales people say customers rarely ask about them. And police say the devices are not common.

''They're just not very prevalent,'' said Fargo Sgt. Joel Vettel.


03-25-05 0619EST
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Same here, mixed opinions.. I think it should be permissable data if there was a death involved and they need to determine how it happened and such... But otherwise it can be a big violation of privacy... They say they only store the 5 seconds before the crash, but that could be true, or it could record you for the past 5 days, who knows...

I know that box didn't keep me from getting my 300C, but it would make me nervous in a serious crash. What if you were going fast and someone runs a light or stop sight and pulls out in front of you... And they determine you were doing 10 over and that person that pulled out in front of you all of the sudden has less blame for running a traffic control device... Doubtful it will ever get to that point, but it's just a possiblity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
That sucks!!!! I am a firm believer in wearing seat belts, I always do. That said "Big brother" has no business looking over our shoulders. If you do wear your seat belt or not, or if you choose to speed or not.
Big invasion of privacy here. FEDS KEEP OUT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,621 Posts
I would like to know where the black box is located on our car.
I have read it is located under the driver or passenger seat.

Wesexcellence and Aspendog have taken the seats out.
I wonder if they know where the black box is located.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
524 Posts
joey said:
I would like to know where the black box is located on our car.
I have read it is located under the driver or passenger seat.

Wesexcellence and Aspendog have taken the seats out.
I wonder if they know where the black box is located.
Passenger side under seat.
 

·
BLOODY ADMENSTRUATOR
Joined
·
7,554 Posts
Be afraid; very afraid

The info recorded is not just accessed to protect DCX's hide in the event of an accident.

Any time a dealer technician plugs in the StarScan to your 300, that data can be seen by the dealership.

Wait - it gets worse! This data goes into a master data bank in Detroit.

Date and time of:

  • seatbelt use;
  • maximum speeds;
  • and, I was told, panic braking

How do you like them apples?

They are not to my taste, that's for sure.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Next question, how do we disable it? The government, & or DCX have no business accessing this kind of information. What gives them the right? I think that we need to start a class action suit. This Senator has the right idea. Maybe I can get on his bandwagon.
My State Senator is a friend of mine, and used to live down the street a few blocks. I definately think that I need to contact him about this.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
524 Posts
It is actually attatched to the seat frame. Wes you should have no problems excpet for mabey a recalibration.


joey said:
We might be on to something.
Wesexcellence posted this pic. Is the black box in the picture?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,621 Posts
aspendog said:
It is actually attatched to the seat frame. Wes you should have no problems excpet for mabey a recalibration.
Can the car be driven without the front passenger seat installed, and black box plugged in? How about trying to disconnect the black box?
Wes, can you start the car without the black box/front seat electrical power system connected? Do any alarms go off?
Can you take some pictures of the black box and post on this thread?
 

·
BLOODY ADMENSTRUATOR
Joined
·
7,554 Posts
Unplugging the box sounds like a simple, tempting solution.

But it won't work.

When I found out about this big brother feature, I unplugged mine. If you want to drive your car, it has to be plugged in. It is one of nine processers linked together in the Canbus.

If it's any comfort, other manufacturers are doing the same. Remember when Intel brought out the pentium chip and defaulted the serial number info into diagnostic reports, allowing 3rd part operating system manufacturers (read Microsoft) to identify your computer?

Enough folks complained and the feature became optional.

The big brother box is another reason why DCX won't release code for the ECM.

IMO, this is not a tech issue but a personal freedom and privacy issue. This one is going to the courts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
wesexcellence said:
Here is a pic of that little baby...
One of my guys just reminded me that we have had this out for about 2 months and driving it in and out of our bays. I'm not sure about hiway driving but it starts fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
wesexcellence said:
One of my guys just reminded me that we have had this out for about 2 months and driving it in and out of our bays. I'm not sure about hiway driving but it starts fine.

is it the cord hanging or what? can you circle what it is and also everything is working fine without it is that correct.. ty
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
doodie300c said:
is it the cord hanging or what? can you circle what it is and also everything is working fine without it is that correct.. ty
We are going to try to by-pass mine. It has to have a speed-sense wire (for maximum speed), seat-belt wire, and some data on braking.

I think if we diode-isolate these wires the computer will "think" they are still connected.
Here is a pic of the black box.
I don't want no stinking big brother looking over my shoulder.
"I MUST OUT-SMART YOU!"

 

·
BLOODY ADMENSTRUATOR
Joined
·
7,554 Posts
That's cool, Wes.

Please send me the specs when you are done. I'll do the same to mine. I have a friend who will plug mine into StarScan. We can then see if big brother can be fooled.

I can play around with it at the end of April.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
I am familiar with the boxes in GM cars from a couple of serious wrecks I've worked on (I'm one of those godforsaken trial lawyers). The boxes can be a very handy or damaging tool, but I would much rather not have one in my own car. Depending on the model and year, they record data on speed, seat belt use, braking, throttle position, delta V and air bag deployment. I suspect other data as well. If OnStar can tell me in thirty seconds why my check engine light is on, I'm guessing they can determine most of what's going on with my car. An accident reconstructionist I've used a couple of times often hooks up his computer to rental cars just for fun. He's a very modest, honest guy - and he claims he often gets readings in excess of 100 mph as prior top speeds. He once had a reading that his rental car had suffered a 'major event' and that the air bags had previously deployed! Either that was a crazy rental co. or the data is not always correct.
 

·
BLOODY ADMENSTRUATOR
Joined
·
7,554 Posts
I generally like the wired diagnostic - central computer data concept - as long as it is used for diagnostic service, TSB's recalls, and warranty issues.

When it crosses over into the grey area of protecting the manufacturer and/or implicating the vehicle operator with regards to how and when they were driving their vehicle on the road, it tramps on my right to privacy, IMO.
 
1 - 20 of 105 Posts
Top