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Found this story today.... Thought some of you might be intrested.

By Brian Cooley: Editor at Large, Reviews
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Event data recorders, as black boxes are known in the auto world, collect data on wheel speed, brake and accelerator position, seat-belt status, and a dozen other parameters. They exist primarily to serve data to other systems, such as your ABS, traction control, and supplemental restraint system (SRS), so that those systems can, in turn, do their thing. For example, when the black box tells the SRS system, "Uh, this car is doing 30mph less than it was 3 milliseconds ago, and nobody has touched the brakes," the SRS thinks, "Hmmm, that's a pretty good sign someone's about to get out via the windshield," and it blows the airbags.

But bits are bits, as programmers know, and black-box data is increasingly being seized by accident investigators and insurance companies--and largely in a vacuum of laws that would protect your rights.

In Canada there already has been a groundbreaking conviction based on automobile black-box data. Story below

But on July 1, California (world leader in excessive legislation) will adopt a smart law: It will be the first state to regulate black boxes in cars, prohibiting anyone from extracting the information from your car unless they have your permission or a court order. And any new car that has a black box will have to say so in the owner's manual.

And what about rental car companies? It's their car, so it's their data. What's to stop them from blacklisting you based on the driving data they retrieve from the car after you return it? And what if they sell that info to the Transportation Security Administration, which then feeds it into the CAPPS II system? Pretty soon, you can't even board a plane, just because one afternoon, you realized you went a little heavy on the Arnold Palmers at lunch and had to set a new land-speed record to get to your dry cleaner on time.

Car's 'black box' helps convict Quebec man


MONTREAL—It was after midnight in Montreal, with not a witness in sight. Eric Gauthier sped through a downtown intersection, slammed into another car and killed Yacine Zinet, whom he accused of running a red light.

But Gauthier was being watched — by something under the dashboard.

A so-called "black box" was wired to the innards of his compact car, capturing every move he made in the seconds that led to the tragedy three years ago. The onboard computer, now standard equipment in many cars, recorded that Gauthier was driving three times the speed limit and that he never hit the brakes

Yesterday, a Quebec judge used that data to hand out an 18-month prison term to the 26-year old, believed by Crown prosecutor Jeannot Decarie to be the first Canadian jailed as a result of information captured by a car's on-board computer.

And as if this post wasn't long enough....... :)

Here is a web site that lists the location of the "black boxes" only for GM vehicles.... sigh... Still looking for info on D-C vehicles.
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