Recently by Eric Peters: Best Cars To Be the Second Owner Of
After a certain point, it’s not paranoia.
The latest brick in the wall is the predictably named “Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act,” also known as Senate Bill 1813. (See here for the full text of the bill itself; the relevant section is 31406.) This legislation – already passed by the Senate and likely to be passed by the House – will impose a legal requirement that all new cars made beginning with the 2015 models be fitted with so-called Event Data Recorders (EDRs). These are the “black boxes” you may have read about that store data about how you drive – including whether you wear a seat belt and how fast you drive – ostensibly for purposes of post-accident investigation.
These EDRs are not new. GM and other automakers have been installing them in new cars for years – in GM’s case, since the late 1990s. What’s new is the proposed federal mandate, which would make it illegal to not have one – or (in all likelihood) to remove or disable one in a car required to have the device.
The question arises: why?
Several possibilities come to mind:
First, the EDRs could – and almost certainly will be – tied into your vehicle’s GPS. (Most new and late model cars, conveniently, already have this, too.) Then data about your driving can be transmitted – as well as recorded. To whom? Your insurance company, of course. Progressive Insurance already has such a system in place – voluntary, for the moment. (See here for more on that.)
When EDRs are mandated, you will no longer have a choice.
We’ll be told it’s all for the sake of (groan) “safety” – just like the old 55 MPH highway speed limit and every radar trap in the country. Of course, it’s really for the sake of revenue – the government’s and the insurance company’s. Your rates will be “adjusted” in real time, for every incident of “speeding” or not buckling up. It’ll be so much more efficient than using cops to issue tickets. After all, so many fishes escape! With an EDR in every car, no one will escape. Your “adjusted” premium will be waiting for you when you get home.
You’ve got mail!
And naturally, they – the government, insurance companies – will be able to track your every move, noting (and recording) where you’ve been and when. This will create a surveillance net beyond anything that ever existed previously. Some will not sweat this: After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Except for the fact that, courtesy of almost everything we do being either “illegal” or at least “suspicious” we all have a great deal to hide. The naivety of the Don’t Worry, it’s No Big Deal crowd is breathtaking. Did the average Soviet citizen also “not have anything to hide,” and hence why worry?