My EDR. What's that? And how does the government even know I have one?
Well, for starters, an EDR is an event data recorder. It's a device that goes into your car. For it's intended purpose, it records key functions of your vehicle and in case of an accident, it can be accessed and details of what was going on just before, during and immediately after the event can be studied. Think of it as your car's Black Box -- like airlines use.
On the surface that sounds pretty cool. Maybe it can even be used to prove that a cop who wrote you a ticket for speeding was wrong. Of if accused of not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, you might be able to show you actually had. There's all kinds of good uses this EDR could be for all of us.
All of us? Yep. It seems they're now standard equipment on personal vehicles, cars and light trucks. The HILL
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated that all light-duty vehicles be installed with EDRs and more than 96 percent of 2013 car models have the technology already.
This appears to be benign on the surface. But, hold on a minute. It will monitor things beyond just brake usage, speed, seatbelt engagement -- it'll also monitor location, outgoing or incoming phone calls, and our routines.
Who's going to have access to that information?
Right now, it's generally open season. A few states have initiated privacy laws about when and how that data can be retrieved and disseminated. But generally speaking, many hackers and the US government have access. This means they can be tracking you, monitoring you and even selling your information like what markets you shop at, where you drop by to grab a brewski on the way home from work, even if you're having an affair at some hotel or motel.
The senators said they were concerned because currently there are no limitations on what information can be recorded and who can use it.
But fear not:
Several states have passed EDR privacy laws, but (Senators) Klobuchar and Hoeven said all American drivers deserve the same protections. Their bill would allow the data to be used if it is requested by a court of law or an owner consents.
“While technologies like EDRs have shown tremendous promise in improving safety on our roadways, we need to make sure that technological advancements don’t outpace privacy protections,” Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan bill makes clear that the vehicle owner is also the rightful owner of any data collected by an EDR, while still ensuring law enforcement has the tools they need to protect citizens.”
With the NSA snooping into everything we do, they don't need more unauthorized spying and recording of our habits. Here's a h/t to the bi-partisan efforts of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) who just announced that they’d introduce a bill aimed at protecting the privacy of drivers.