More regulation. Less privacy. The Department of Transportation appears to be jealous of the NSA’s domestic spying abilities. They want to be able to track your car wherever you go.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, published last week an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” on “vehicle-to-vehicle communications.”
What NHTSA is proposing could begin a transformation in the American transportation system that makes our lives better and freer — or gives government more power over where we go and when.
In announcing its proposed rulemaking, NHTSA is stressing its intention to protect the “privacy” of American drivers.
"This document initiates rulemaking that would propose to create a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, FMVSS No. 150, to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication capability for light vehicles," says NHTSA’s dryly-worded notice.
What do vehicle-to-vehicle communications entail?
NHTSA has crafted a nice phrase to describe the information cars would broadcast. It is the “Basic Safety Message.”
"An integrated V2V system is connected to proprietary data busses and can provide highly accurate information using in-vehicle information to generate the Basic Safety Message," says NHTSA’s technical report on "Readiness of V2V for Application."
"The integrated system both broadcasts and receives BSMs," says the report. "In addition, it can process the content of received messages to provide advisories and/or warnings to the driver of the vehicle in which it is installed."
The “Basic Safety Message” will be broadcast by the vehicle’s dedicated short-range communications system. According to NHTSA, this system will need to transmit certain specific information.
"For example," says the technical report, "when a DSRC unit sends out a BSM, the BSM needs to: Contain the relevant elements and describe them accurately (e.g., vehicle speed; GPS position; vehicle heading; DSRC message ID, etc.)."
I sincerely believe that private industry can come up with the necessary standards for high-tech cars without the need for government regulation, mandated standardization, or the further invasion of citizens’ privacy.
We don’t need Big Brother watching the speed and location of every car. They can mask it in the name of “public safety” (which they always do), but this would be a full-scale invasion of privacy and a violation of the 4th Amendment.