FYI -Who's watching
blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Thu Aug 24 21:26:57 MDT 2006
>By ERIC PETERS
>Big Brother will be watching you for sure by 2008 -- the year a
>proposed requirement that Event Data Recorders (EDRs) become
>mandatory standard equipment in all new cars and trucks will become
>law unless public outrage puts the kibosh on it somehow.
>EDRs are "black boxes" -- just like airplanes have. They can record
>a wide variety of things -- including how fast you drive and whether
>you "buckle-up for safety." The National Highway Traffic Safety
>Administration (NHTSA) wants EDRs to be installed in every new
>vehicle beginning with model year 2008 -- on the theory that the
>information will help crash investigators more accurately determine
>the hows and whys of accidents.
>But EDRs could -- and likely will be -- used for other purposes as well.
>Tied into GPS navigation computers, EDRs could give interested
>parties -- your local cash-hungry sheriff, for example -- the
>ability to take automated ticketing to the next level. Since the
>data recorders can continuously monitor most of the operating
>parameters of a vehicle as it travels -- and the GPS unit can
>precisely locate the vehicle in "real time," wherever it happens to
>be at any given moment -- any and all incidents of "speeding" could
>be immediately detected and a piece of paying paper issued to the
>offender faster than he could tap the brake. That's even if he knew
>he was in the crosshairs, which of course he wouldn't. Probably
>they'll just erect an electronic debiting system of some sort that
>ties directly into your checking account -- since the paperwork
>could not keep up with the massive uptick in fines that would be generated.
>What Do You Think?
>If you think this is just a dark-minded paranoiac vision, think
>again. Rental car companies have already deployed a very similar
>system of onboard electronic monitoring to identify customers who
>dare to drive faster than the posted limit -- and automatically tap
>them with a "surcharge" for their scofflaw ways. While this
>inventive form of "revenue enhancement" was challenged and
>subsequently batted down by the courts, the technology continues to
>be honed -- and quietly put into service.
>Already, 15-20 percent of all the cars and trucks in service have
>EDRs; most of these are General Motors vehicles. GM has been
>installing "black boxes" in its new cars and trucks since about 1996
>as part of the Supplemental Restraint (air bag) system. Within a few
>years, as many as 90 percent of all new motor vehicles will be
>equipped with EDRs, according to government estimates -- whether the
>requirement NHTSA is pushing actually becomes law or not.
>The automakers are just as eager to keep tabs on us as the
>government -- in part to keep the shyster lawyers who have been so
>successfully digging into their deep pockets at bay. EDRs would
>provide irrefutable evidence of high-speed driving, for example --
>or make it impossible for a person injured in a crash to deny he
>wasn't wearing a seat belt.
>Insurance companies will launch "safety" campaigns urging that "we
>use available technology" to identify "unsafe" drivers -- and who
>will be able to argue against that? Everyone knows that speeding is
>against the law -- and if you aren't breaking the law, what have you
>got to worry about?
>It's all for our own good.
>But if you get edgy thinking about the government -- and our friends
>in corporate America -- being able to monitor where we go and how we
>go whenever they feel like checking in on us, take the time to write
>a "Thanks, but no thanks" letter to NHTSA at
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