Sunday, January 25, 2015

California Mulling More Government Access To Cars’ On-Board Computers


(Steven Greenhut) At a traffic school my wife once attended after getting a ticket, the instructor warned the class there are so many driving rules and so much discretion in enforcing them that any driver can be cited for something at any time. Drivers, he said, always are at the mercy of the traffic cop.

Even if that’s an exaggeration, the general point seems true. We can drive without being obsessively concerned about getting pulled over because there (thankfully) aren’t enough California Highway Patrol officers to stop us every time the speedometer hits 75 mph.

But what if the traffic cop were a computer that always is transmitting data about our driving habits to a government agency? That question increasingly is being asked given technological advancements and a new proposal by the state’s air-quality control agency to expand the information your car’s computer would be required to collect and potentially transmit to officials.