North Dakota

North Dakota does the right thing

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 04/13/2005 - 14:12

The North Dakota legislature has done the right thing by making the data stored in vehicle black boxes solely the property of the vehicle owner.

Police, insurance companies, and some lawmakers in other areas have wanted unrestricted access to the boxes, without needing a search warrant or the permission of the owner. The boxes typically store the last several minutes of vehicle data, including speed, braking, and acceleration. It can be damning evidence in the case of an accident, and some insurance companies have tried to make unrestricted access a condition for getting insurance.

In other words, the insurance companies want to use the data in the boxes to incriminate the owners (and thereby potentially avoid paying insurance claims). You'd think the issue is clear enough--we are not required to incriminate ourselves. But as technology often does, it opens up new ways to doing things, both for good and bad. The North Dakota legislature is to be commended for getting this one right, straight out of the gate.

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