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My car the spy

  1. Aug 25, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/22/autos/edr_concerns/index.htm

    More of the same... On the face of things it seems like a good idea, but as this technology evolves and becomes accepted, I expect this to lead to much more invasive devices and tactics. Already we find that our driving was being monitored without our knowledge; unless we happened to read our manuals. :uhh: Okay, but come on, who ever reads the manual! :biggrin:
     
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  3. Aug 25, 2006 #2

    russ_watters

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    I read my manual and as both an engineer and a law-abiding citizen, I think this is a great idea.
     
  4. Aug 25, 2006 #3
    It is a great idea from a product evaluation standpoint, but from the consumer perspective I don't see how it is anything but frivolous to make such systems standard to production models.
     
  5. Aug 25, 2006 #4

    BobG

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    Monitored by who? Unless someone is sneaking around the neighborhood, breaking into cars, and secretly downloading the info from the module, the only way anyone sees this data is if you're in a collision.

    Even then, it depends on state law what happens to the data. At most, it might be something all states should address, but it's evidence that's pertinent to the collision and the likelihood for abusing access to the data is small.

    I would liken it to scanning a suspect's computer hard drive for child pornograghy, except without the chance of also finding legitmate information that the individual has a right to keep private, which is the real reason for privacy laws. The laws aren't to prevent access to legitimate evidence - they're to prevent having legitimate private information being obtained on the pretense of possible wrong doing, or wrong doing so trivial that it's not worth the violation of privacy to a 'reasonable' person.

    Unless they start integrating GPS into the modules to keep a record of where you've traveled (which would serve no purpose in analyzing collisions), I don't see any violation.
     
  6. Aug 25, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    I believe that dealers' shops are equipped with diagnostic computers that download data from the cars' on-board system when the cars are taken in for servicing. Ostensibly, it helps to diagnose any problems, but I wonder if the dealership can check on anything that might void a warrantee. :biggrin:

    I would have worried about Ivan if the title was "My mother my car". :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  7. Aug 25, 2006 #6

    Bystander

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    That's the only reason they're in cars.
     
  8. Aug 25, 2006 #7

    russ_watters

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    Since they only (currently) record a few seconds worth of data, all it'll show is how fast they got it onto the lift.
     
  9. Aug 27, 2006 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Obviously the next step is to allow this as evidence in a court of law in the event of an accident.

    I think the consumer should have the option to disable the recording.
     
  10. Aug 27, 2006 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was hoping that someone would get my joke. :biggrin:

    I noticed that in California, the seat belt law is now a primary offense. When it first passed, one could not be pulled over for failing to wear a seat belt. But as these things go, the law becomes broader and more invasive.

    The next logical step in the technology is to record all driving data for a week or a month, or more. Of course, we could just allow this data to download to our insurance companies daily and issue speeding tickets at the same time.

    On a related note: Why don't we electronically limit all cars to the maximum speed limit?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  11. Aug 27, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    Yeah, I'm that old. :biggrin:

    I guess corporations are worried about 'invasion of privacy'.

    I've wondered the same thing. Also, when one drives on a toll road between fixed points, and in the process, one picks up an electronically readable ticket, which usually has the 'time and date' on it, when one leaves the toll road, it should be fairly easy to calculate the average speed. Certainly, if one arrives at the exit at an average speed above the speed limit, then obviously one has exceeded the speed limit. It seems no one bothers to check. :uhh:

    In Germany, on some of the regulated sections on the Autobahn, they have radar triggered cameras to catch speeding cars. I triggered one once but didn't get a ticket. I was changing lanes when the camera took the picture.
     
  12. Aug 27, 2006 #11
    Really? You never go faster than the posted speed limit on the highway, even if the flow of traffic is quite a bit faster or if you're passing a semi? Do you think that these black boxes account for these types of factors? Suppose that the speed limit is 55 mph, the flow of traffic is 65 mph, and you're hit by a car going 85 mph. What happens when your insurance company subpoenas your black box and finds out that you were speeding? I'll tell you what: no money for you.
     
  13. Aug 28, 2006 #12

    BobG

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    What's the point of having the option to disable the recording? Is it so the person at fault in an accident can escape being found liable?

    Technically, that is a legitimate reason. A person isn't required to serve as a witness against themselves, but that right is already limited. If the data on the unit belongs to the owner, it does mean authorities need at least a warrant to access the data (much the way a warrant would be required to search the computer files of a suspected child pornographer, for example).

    I'd have a little more of a problem with a couple of other technological developments than event data recorders (which I guess supports your idea that it could lead to more invasive tactics).

    Pay as you drive insurance. This reveals a lot more data than the event data recorders used in accidents. This version was a voluntary program, but I've also heard the idea floated as a possible way to revise taxation for roads. Currently, a lot of the taxes added into the cost of the gasoline go to road maintenance. One idea is that taxes could be tied to actual miles driven rather than the number of gallons of gasoline used (why should SUV users be paying part of those whiny Sentra drivers' taxes - SUV users have enough problems right now :rofl:).

    Technology tracks cell phones. This one already exists and at least has the potential to gather a lot more data about you (yeah, technically it's tracking the cell phone you probably carry with you in your car, but same idea).
     
  14. Aug 28, 2006 #13
    I work for a mercedes benz dealer and one day we had the driver of a mercedes benz A Class come into our dealership after they had crashed their car. They clamied that as they where going around the corner the steering went funny but the ABS didnt cut in and they crashed in a ditch.

    mercedes benz technical departement got involved and they sent a technician out with a diagnostic computer he plugged it into the car and read the fault codes. They showed him the exact times that the ABS had been functioning on the last 50 (i think, dont hold me to that) times that the ABS had cut in. This prooved that there was no faults with the car and that the accident was down to driver error. This saved Mercedes quite abit of money in liability. As a normal technician we cant access that information with the standard diagnostic computers but the computers that the mercedes benz technical guys use can access alot of history from the cars control units.
     
  15. Aug 28, 2006 #14

    russ_watters

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    Ok.... so what's wrong with that? It might cut down on frivoless lawsuits.
    Why? Why not make it mandatory like it is on airplanes?
    The black boxes in question don't have anything to do with what you are talking about. But if the capability is ever expanded, I, like everyone else, will do what is necessary to avoid a ticket. I certainly won't be complaining about being punished for breaking the law.

    Are you guys really saying that you don't like the idea because it makes it tougher for you to lie to police and investigators? Perjury is not a right, guys.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  16. Aug 28, 2006 #15

    russ_watters

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    Perfect example of why these things are needed.
     
  17. Aug 28, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    No matter what the risk...
     
  18. Aug 28, 2006 #17

    Hurkyl

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    I certainly don't.


    Who said that? Burning strawmen is easy. Try your hand at the real deal once in a while. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Aug 28, 2006 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Russ said that this is a good idea and has failed to respond to the valid concerns expressed. No strawman here, but it is a good dodge to make the accusation. :wink:
     
  20. Aug 28, 2006 #19

    Astronuc

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    Well, that would be an inelastic collision and the car being hit wouldn't achieve 85 mph. Besides the impulse would cause a momentary acceleration well beyond what could be achieved by using the accelerator, and thus a black box would most likely confirm the car was hit. Plus there would the fact that two cars are damaged, and probably not driveable. :biggrin:

    And modern cars have air bags (aka safety restraint systems) which might deploy.
     
  21. Aug 28, 2006 #20
    I hate the title CNN has on it... it doesn't even record sound or anything, so wtf's up with that?
     
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