V2V Communications and Privacy
Today's vehicles yield the latest technology with devices that make any number of functions possible through voice commands. This includes the ability to record and store all types of information about the driver and his or her conduct. The event data recorder (i.e., black box) stores information about the driver's speed, direction, and even whether the driver is wearing a seatbelt. In September 2014, collecting and storing this information will be a mandatory capability for all new cars. As with all growing technology, this expansion brings up serious privacy concerns. Do you drive a car with built-in GPS capabilities? Do you plan to buy a car in the near future? Do you use voice commands to perform secondary functions such as getting directions while driving? If so, your car may be recording activities at the risk of your privacy rights. You may contact our law firm in order to discuss the steps to secure your privacy.
The information that the event data recorder collects has already been the subject of litigation involving law enforcement agencies and insurance companies. Still, car manufacturers contend that there are no privacy concerns because the driver owns the data, along with the right to access and use it. However, most drivers are not aware that their cars record and store this information. A representative of the Electronic Privacy Information Center has suggested that this information recording and storage capability should have an "opt-in" feature. Stated otherwise, drivers should be able to monitor the information stored on their own cars. They should also be able to delete such information. In addition to the threat to privacy, these features pose security concerns if it becomes possible to remotely track a driver's movements and know his or her exact location.
Nonetheless, these technologies could also provide for safer driving experiences. For example, Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications allow for nearby cars to wirelessly exchange data in an effort to improve safety. This information includes a vehicle's speed, position, and direction. By using this information, cars can detect threats and adjust driving accordingly. For example, by detecting the distance between a traveling car and a stopped car ahead, V2V communications could safely stop the traveling car and prevent an imminent collision. On October 22, 2013, Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill, called the Driver Privacy Act, that should give car owners greater control over the data their car collects. The bill requires a warrant to release the black box data to third parties without the owner's consent. The bill also limits the usage of such information. Hence, car manufacturers will have to meet ongoing production standards and be cautious to protect privacy rights.
For more information, you should consult with an attorney. At our law firm, we assist clients in legal matters involving the latest technology advancements by staying informed and using knowledge to create solutions.