Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Big Brother is Watching You

AutoWeek gives us a disturbing look at how much we are tracked as we drive. On Star and other systems collect a bit more information that you may be aware of. (thanks to KABA)

A GPS tracking system, a vehicle monitoring system and some control of electronics are wrapped into these packages. And with the units themselves taking on the aspect of black boxes, just how much privacy are we giving up?
So far, California is at the forefront of black-box regulation. In July the state approved a wide-ranging [Event Data Recorder (EDR)] law requiring manufacturer notification to buyers and specifying that EDR data is the property of the vehicle owner or lessee, and can only be downloaded with the owner’s permission or through a court order.
Data collected by the vendor companies is less secure. "[T]he ACLU notes that under the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, among the information the FBI can demand—without judicial oversight—are records of an individual’s travel patterns." Businesses, insurance companies, and others are also going to want that data.
“In a free society with free people, you should only have to give out information to those you want it to go to,” says Don Harkins, editor of The Idaho Observer, a conservative newspaper in Spirit Lake, Idaho. “It should not be collected and collated by people you don’t know. It’s none of their damn business.”

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