Georgia Supreme Court to Consider Privacy Interests in Vehicle Black Box Data
GEORGIA – According to a news report posted online at thenewspaper.com, the Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear a case in June that involves privacy interests in the data stored in a vehicle’s black box. The case stems from an appeal brought by a man who was convicted of vehicular homicide in a trail that included presentation of speed data obtained by police from his car.*
The Newspaper.com reports that in late 2014, a man driving a Dodge Charger crashed into a Chevrolet Corvette, and the collision caused the tragic deaths of the Corvette’s driver and passenger. During their investigation of the accident, police officers obtained data from the Dodge’s black box, which showed that that the Dodge had been traveling 97 mph before the crash. Officers did not obtain a warrant for this information.
The speed evidence was presented at the trial for the Dodge driver, who was facing criminal charges of vehicular homicide. According to the news report, the driver was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. He has since been appealing his conviction, in part on the grounds that officers should have obtained judicial permission to search and seize his vehicle data.
On behalf of the appellant, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has argued that vehicle black boxes contain a wealth of information, potentially including text message conversations, GPS locations, and other data that people expect to be kept private. The Georgia Court of Appeals rejected that argument and ruled that vehicle owners do not have privacy interests in the data contained in their block boxes.
The case is on now the docket for the Georgia Supreme Court and scheduled for oral arguments in June.
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