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Old 11-26-2006, 10:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: CO
Posts: 56
Electronic Data Recorders Friend or Foe?

I get almost all my news from the internet and have lately been noticing an uptick of news stories relating to Electronic Data Recorders on vehicles. Almost all new vehicles will have EDR's or "black boxes" on them within the next few years. Obviously people are divided over their use and info they store as well as their presence within the vehicle at all.

I happen to reside in the camp that does not like to be surveilled by my own vehicle nor do I want to pay for it. Being an officer in the Air Force and an engineer, I know very well how much data can be gathered and its potential benefits in certain situations. It can potentially clear your name in an accident or it can help convict the person that caused an accident. While I realize, this I am afraid my faith rests in the accuracy of the box while having little faith in how that data is being used and by whom.

You only need look back shortly in our history to determine how well our private information is protected by the government as well as businesses. What if you must download and provide your driving style to your insurance company in order to get insured via the black box? How many of you could get insured in this instance? Do not think only about your auto insurance rates but your family medical insurance as well. This data benefits both because in some cases they are not mutually exclusive.

What if we added a telemetry capability to our black box and used it to enforce traffic laws in real-time? If you hit 56 in a 55, automatic speeding ticket mailed to your home. "You brake too hard and too often" the black box tells your dealership. Now the dealership refuses to honor your warranty for the brakes on your brand new car.

The automakers, insurance companies and government argue that these EDR's are for our own good. It would help design safer cars, roads safer, air bag reaction times etc. If it's truly for our "own good" then we should have the opportunity to say "no", it's our own choice.

Every time I read about the government wanting to do something they believe is good for me, I become very wary. For those of you that have so much faith in the altruistic and benevolent nature of our government, by all means call up the local District Attorney and invite him to search your home for absolutely no reason. What are you afraid of? You have nothing to hide right?

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