Your Car Isn’t

You paid for it – possibly making payments on it for years. It’s your car now . . . right?EDR 3

Maybe.

But the data it contains effectively belongs to someone else.

Don’t believe me? Then take a look at your owner’s manual – if you own (well, think you own) a new car.

On page 34 of the (cough) owner’s manual for the 2014 Mercedes Benz E-Class wagon I recently reviewed, there is a section devoted to Information about electronic data acquisition in the vehicle. This refers to the Event Data Recorders – aka “black boxes” – that all new cars come equipped with now – by law. These EDRs store information about your driving, such as vehicle speed, “g” forces during deceleration and cornering, whether you are “buckled up for safety”  – and so on.

The information is not merely stored, either. It can (and will be) retrieved – and not by you.

Without your consent.

And very possibly, without your even knowing about it.EDR 2

The MB manual admits this, openly.

“Please note that your vehicle is equipped with devices that can record vehicle systems data . . . Daimler AG can accessthese data and submit them.”

Italics added.

How is the data “accessed”? Via the same technology your (hrrrmmm!) car gets real-time weather updates, stock quotes and e-mail. If your car is equipped (as almost all new cars are equipped) with send and receive data transmission capability then data about your speed, how “aggressively” you accelerate (or brake) and whether you are wearing a seat belt can also be sent and received.

This data “is transmitted in the event of an accident”. Emphasis on “is.” Not might betransmitted. But is transmitted. Whether you agree or not. Hell, you’re not even asked.

It’s not new, either.

GM has been fitting cars with its OnStar system since the ’90s – decades before the gunvernment got around to issuing a fatwa that every new car will have them, period. And the data is not transmitted “in the event of an accident” only.

Big Brother is watching – I assure you.

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