Is my car spying on me? Does my car have a black box, and should I be worried? Ask your Galveston car wreck lawyer for the answers | DENENA | POINTS

Chances are that if your car has a fairly recent model year and it also has an airbag, you probably have a black box, or event data recorder (EDR), in your car. Current EDRs in cars vary in how they operate. Types of data that get recorded vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, as do the procedures for downloading data. Most recent General Motors cars can use a common Bosch device to download EDR data. But cars from many other manufacturers require proprietary devices to download the data. Variety among the many current EDR models and difficulties in downloading their data somewhat mitigates black box data collection privacy fears.

Generally speaking, EDRs in cars only store their data for a limited time period. The EDR’s data collection process mainly helps your car decide if conditions warrant deployment of the car’s airbags and other safety systems. If you experience an impact, the EDR will usually retain the data from the last 15 seconds prior to the crash. This can help your Galveston car wreck lawyer determine who was at fault in a wreck. But problems with varying EDR devices currently prevent black box data from being readily available and useful after crashes. So there isn’t much to worry about, as yet, regarding black box data collection privacy fears.

Government rulings will mandate that U.S. cars contain more standardized EDR devices as of the 2013 car model year. The government EDR mandate has raised some privacy concerns. But EDRs, both as currently used and as mandated by 2013, shouldn’t cause you too much concern. The main worry is that these EDRs in cars do open the door to possibilities regarding enhanced future technology. Future developments may well collect more extensive data and raise more black box data collection privacy fears.

Various U.S. states treat EDR data differently. In Texas, owner permission must be given in order to download the data from your car. We suggest that you don’t give your permission without first consulting with a Galveston car wreck lawyer on your case. You don’t want to let your own car speak against you if you can avoid it.