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Black Box Bill

The United States Senate is addressing privacy concerns surrounding data event recorders in automobiles. Event Data Recorders (EDRs), commonly known as “black boxes” are almost standard equipment in all new cars and trucks. They record everything the vehicle is doing, or not doing at the time of a collision or other on road mishap. The boxes can record everything from speed and vehicle angle, to seat-belt use.

U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced legislation, S.1925, to make the data recorder the sole property of the vehicle owner. Anyone else would need a subpoena to access the data. The data would also be available should the vehicle owner consent to data retrieval or for traffic safety research.

“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and that poses new risks to personal privacy and new concerns for the public,” Hoeven said. “While EDRs can serve a useful function by helping to make cars and streets safer, access to the data should be treated as personal except under very specific circumstances. Our bill makes clear what those circumstances are and helps to ensure that government and other entities respect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.”

The Senate legislation is similar to the bill currently being worked on by the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2414. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation supports both pieces of legislation and encourages you to contact your elected officials in the House and Senate and ask them to cosponsor these important bills.