Global positioning systems, Internet connections, data recorders and high-definition cameras increasingly are being installed in cars. The New York Times says, “Drivers can barely make a left turn, put on their seatbelts or push 80 miles an hour without their actions somehow, somewhere being tracked or recorded.” Two U.S. senators are trying to give car owners more say over some of that data. Sens. John Hoeven R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will introduce a bill stipulating that car owners control the data collected on the device called the event data recorder.
The recorder, known as a black box, collects information like direction, speed and seatbelt use in a continuous loop. It is in nearly every car today, and in September, will become mandatory. Last week, the Government Accountability Office reported that some automakers were keeping private data collected from onboard navigation systems and mapping apps for varying lengths of time and that car owners could not request that it be erased. “Information about your location is extremely sensitive,” said Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee on privacy. He will introduce a bill that would legislate guidelines on when a vehicle owner's location could be shared. “If someone has a record of your location, they can figure out where you live, where you work, the doctors you visit and where your kids go to school,” he said.