Monday, October 03, 2005

Big Brother: Should it be in your car?

WASHINGTON -- A growing number of states are grappling with a new privacy dilemma: what to do about cars that can spy on their owners.

At least two-thirds of new vehicles, including those built by General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., come equipped with event data recorders -- "black boxes" that can tell tales even after a car has been totaled.

The recorders track speed, engine revolutions per minute, braking and seat belt usage and other data in the moments before and after impact. The information can be critical to understanding why accidents occur and finding ways to reduce auto fatalities.

But some see an Orwellian downside to the rapidly advancing technology. As consumers learn more about the black boxes, some are also becoming concerned about what data is being collected and how it can be used by police, their employers, insurance companies and others.


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