One fun aspect of driverless cars is that they must have sensors that can pretty much see everything around them. A secondary aspect of that is that, to figure out what went wrong (in the event something bad happens), they must also record everything they see.
What’s more, our friends in law enforcement do not need a warrant to pull that data from any car; there is no expectation of privacy when you are wandering around in public.
Think of a driverless car as one big mobile recording device that sees everything, with a 360 degree view, and keeps all of its recordings for … some indeterminate period of time, likely related to the size of the drive in the car. Days? Weeks? Months?
And we are going to have millions of these recording devices on the road in the next few years.
Any bets that the NSA will have a backdoor-ability to access, in real time, any car’s sensors they choose to select?
Jaeger … watched in awe as the engineers showed him the autonomous vehicle’s (AV) own view. This screen reduces everything to line drawings and other simplified sensory inputs.
“It’s incredible,” he told Ars. “It felt like The Matrix, when they flip the switch—it’s seeing everything, it’s seeing way more than you or I can—and it’s making decisions.”
Jaeger, a veteran of the department, said that as someone whose job requires that he “reconstruct” serious traffic accidents, he could only dream of a machine that captured as much as an AV does.
“I felt like I was in heaven,” he said. “It’s like instant replay in the NFL, I can tell what happened. The engineers looked at each other like, ‘Aw, crap.'”
Instantly, Jaeger realized that the promise of AVs to not only be safer for those inside the car, but it may also, potentially, be a way for law enforcement to collect data and information about everything else around it.