Senate Demands Mandatory Black Boxes

Written by Steve Coulter on . Posted in Technology

New bill creates paranoia over what driving will look like in the future

Senate Bill 1813, also known as MAP-21, has been causing quite a stir in Washington and the nation over ever since it passed a vote in the Senate in March, threatening to revoke the passports of citizens for a mere $50,000 in back taxes, as well as to limit their financial freedom abroad.

Numerous sections of the bill appear to be contradictory of a democratic government, breaching privacy as well as restricting everyday freedoms.

Section 31406, which calls for “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” to be installed in every new passenger vehicle starting in 2015, has drawn a lot of scrutiny because of its “Big Brother surveillance of American’s transport habits and location data,” according to

These “black boxes” would grant the government power to access information from before, during or after a crash in a number of different circumstances, including by court order, if the vehicle’s owner consents to make it available. In addition, the Secretary of Transportation can use the obtained data when it is pertinent to an investigation or inspection.

The legislation, which is expected to pass in the House of Repsentatives, dictates that civil penalties will be imposed against individuals for failing to install the recording devices.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder (EVR) that meets the requirements under that part,” states the bill.

In addition, these recording devices will include an “interoperable data access port” to facilitate “universal accessibility and analysis,” according to the bill, which will help EMTs in case off an accident.

Senators Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid sell this provision with a positive health spin, but there is public reluctance towards this section of the bill, because there is looming threat that this will one day lead the way to the “ultimate Big Brother scenario.” This would be a system where every driver would be required to obtain governmental permission to get behind the wheel via an iris scan that could determine whether they were good citizens who have paid all their taxes, suggests.

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that all new cars would be mandated to have the devices fitted by law, which has become a part of the bill. This decision was made after several years of studies conducted by the NHTSA, which was testing black boxes to identify malfunctioning parts amongst other things.

Now, with MAP-21 headed to Congress, the black boxes will have more importance on the road as they will be standardized and required in all passenger motor vehicles. Such a decree on the government’s part seems too demanding, but more importantly, non-Democratic. This isn’t the world of 1984, but one can’t help feeling like Big Brother is watching.

Source- S. 1813: Map-21



Tags: , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment