North Dakota makes drivers’ data private

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North Dakota’s governor signed into law a bill that gives new vehicle owners control over information gathered by an event data recorder.

The so-called “Black Box Bill,” signed April 27 by Republican Gov. John Hoeven, says data recorded on any North Dakota motor vehicle manufactured after July 31 may not be retrieved over the vehicle owner’s objection without a court order.

Moreover, the manufacturer must disclose the existence of a data recorder in the owner’s manual of every recorder-equipped vehicle sold or leased in North Dakota by 2007.

The law allows some exceptions. For example, data could be retrieved by a vehicle dealer or technician in order to diagnose or repair it.

In 2004, California became the first state to require manufacturers to disclose to customers whether vehicles have data recorders installed, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. That California law, like North Dakota’s, requires the owner’s permission or a court order to retrieve the data.