Over on FourthAmendment.com, John Wesley Hall, Jr. has a commentary on the use of automotive “black boxes” and under what conditions the government can use them as evidence. The commentary seems inspired by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal to require black boxes in all cars.
John writes, in part:
What about the privacy implications? Can the government legitimately require a “black box” as an event recorder? They do in commercial airliners, but the interests are vastly different. What’s the government interest in having them in all cars manufactured after a certain date, which I’m guessing means they will be in 85+% of all cars in ten years.
People have been convicted based on evidence from the “black box” refuting their statements to the police, as noted in the blog and the case law. My view is that a search warrant is required for the “black box” in a car. It is not like any other search of a car. Liken it to finding a computer in a car. It can’t be searched under the automobile exception or inventory, and a warrant is required for it, too.
Read his entire commentary on FourthAmendment.com