Tester: Driver information must remain private
Senator backs bipartisan Driver Privacy Act, continues stand for Montanans’ civil liberties
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is supporting bipartisan legislation to make sure the private information of Montana drivers remains just that: private.
Tester is co-sponsoring the Driver Privacy Act, a bill that makes any information in a vehicle’s event data recorder the property of vehicle’s owner or lessee. More than 90 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States now carry the recorders, commonly known as “black boxes.”
Tester, a staunch defender of Americans’ privacy rights, says his bill will help privacy laws keep up with advances in technology.
“With advancements in technology, we now have black boxes in cars, and that information needs to stay with the owner of that car – not with the car companies or anybody else,” Tester said. “This bill will make sure that the information collected in black boxes remains with the car owner and that we live up to the privacy rights Montanans expect.”
Tester’s bill allows for certain exceptions, such as when a court authorizes the data’s collection as evidence in an investigation, when the vehicle’s owner or lessee agrees to provide the information, or when the data is needed in an emergency medical situation.
Black boxes are typically located beneath a vehicle’s front seat or console and can track speed, steering angle, braking and air bag deployment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to make them mandatory in all vehicles in September.
Tester, who ran for the Senate in 2006 by campaigning against the Patriot Act and continues to vote against the law, has backed multiple pieces of legislation to defend Americans’ privacy rights in the wake of Edward Snowden revealing the scope of the federal government’s controversial spying programs.
Tester’s Driver Privacy Act is supported by a range of Senators from both sides of the aisle, including John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).