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Home of the red, white and 'black'?

If you buy a new car in 2015 and onwards, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be getting a little bit extra for your money: a black data recorder box fitted perfectly for your new ride. The bill, which already passed by the Senate and is set to soon be approved by the House, would mandate these little treasure troves of information be installed in every new vehicle and (according to an article from infowars.com) legislates civil penalties against people who fail to do so.

The article states that the box remains the property of the car owner but also stipulates that the government would have the power to access it in a number of situations, such as by court order, owner consent and any investigation or inspection conducted by the Secretary of Transportation.

This statement of justification does little to assure me that the powers that be will use the information in my best interests. It’s a given that government and industry leaders don’t have the best of track records when it comes to openly sharing their ideas with Americans on how they plan on spying on us. For example, the harmlessly named Utah Data Center that wired.com did a recent story about. It seems the National Security Agency (NSA) is building this project of immense secrecy in the heart of Mormon country. The article from Wired states that the NSA has become the largest, most covert, and, potentially, the most intrusive intelligence agency ever.

But what is it they’re so nosey about? Terrorist information, surely; what I’m saying about my kid on Facebook, let’s hope not. It’s that “not knowing” and covertness that keeps the phrase “Big Brother” alive.

So it is with that mindset, the idea of a mandatory black box inside our vehicles for some reason, just doesn’t seem right. Should there be an accident, is that box going to get all the info correct? Is it going to be able to turn its little mechanical neck around and digest the fact that even though I hit someone in the rear or the side, it’s because they pulled out in front of me, especially when there are no human witnesses?

And if that information is not readily available, what is that going to do to the result of the accident report? Is my insurance going up, or will my license be pulled? A number of possibilities come to mind.

Of course, looking on the bright side, with the price of new vehicles today, let alone what they will be in the year 2015, the odds of me being able to afford one is slim to none. It’s not a good sign when the “bright side” involves not being able to afford something. But, on the other hand, there’s no way the government can watch what I’m doing if I’m driving a 2005 Chevy Malibu. Or is there?

Angela Rogalski is a print journalism senior who lives in Abbeville. Follow her on Twitter @abbeangel.