The Small Print Project                            

I Got My Scion You

We’re all aware that nearly all cars made in the past ten years or so have a “computer” that helps the dealer prescribe you overpriced parts when flagged and enables Johnny’s Auto Repair around the corner to charge $150 to tap into this chip and run “diagnostics.”

But don’t you ever wonder what other functions our wired autos may be performing?

Thanks, John for this one:

Product: Toyota Scion xB

Lowpoints: The Scion, like most other modern cars, has a primitive “black box” that records data in certain situations — like when the airbags deploy. According to the owner’s manual, Toyota has the right to use the data as it sees fit. This includes product-liability lawsuits. So if you sue Toyota for an accident, your own car can effectively testify against you. And although Toyota sold you the car, it retains control over a key component.

Highpoints: Well, collecting and analyzing crash data should lead to safer cars in the future. The technology I like; but Toyota’s claims seem very invasive.

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  • Tom von Schwerdtner

    If the data is correct and accurate then what’s the problem with using it in court?

    If you built a car that had a black box in it, wouldn’t you want the right to use that information to refute false claims?

    Remember, the corporation is just as afraid of you as you are of it. ;)

    However, does the driver have the right to use the data against Toyota to prove product-liability cases?

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com smiley

    If the data is correct and accurate then what’s the problem with using it in court?

    Think of this as a violation of your 5th amendment rights.