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Rep.Mike Capuano increases fight for privacy rights with “We are Watching You Act” and “Black Box Privacy Protection Act.”

Martin Desmarais | 7/10/2013, 10:45 a.m.

In addition the bill points out that no federal law exists to clarify the rights of a vehicle owner with respect to this recorded data.

Under the “Black Box Privacy Protection Act” all data collected by an EDR becomes the property of the vehicle owner. The bill would make it illegal for anyone other than the vehicle owner to download or retrieve information without owner consent or a court order. The legislation also requires that all new cars equipped with EDRs allow the owner the option to control the recording function that cannot be restarted without the owner’s consent.

Like the issue of new DVR technology, Capuano says the issue of how EDRs in cars are used is another “basic issue of privacy.”

“If there is going to be something in my car that tracks anything I do, that is my information,” Capuano said “ And I should be able to turn it off.”

The use of EDRs is backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has proposed that EDRs should be required in all cars manufactured after Sept. 1, 2014, and that the existence of the EDR must be included in the owner’s manual.

Capuano said the “Black Box Privacy Protection Act” would make the disclosure more prominent and give consumers even greater choice and privacy protections.

“This is not a conspiracy theory,” Capuano said. “This is real technology that exists and could be deployed tomorrow.”