The Senate has just passed a bill that will require all new cars to have aircraft-style "black box" event data recorders placed in them. Some people think this is an invasion of privacy, while others think it's just the times -- they are a-changin'.
Though the bill stipulates that the data on the black box is the property of the vehicle's owner, it also notes that the data can be retrieved by people who are not the owner under certain circumstances. For example, if a court orders it.
Now this...is more of an issue than you might think. You might be thinking, wow, that's great, now we will be able to really determine who is driving unsafely and/or who's to blame for accidents, but that's not really true. For one thing, there are several situations that I can think of, just off the top of my head, in which one car's black box data will indicate "unsafe" driving, and the other car's black box data will indicate "safe" driving -- but actually, the "unsafe" driver will be the safer driver and vice versa.
For example: One car is speeding slightly (say <5mph over the limit) and the other car runs a stop sign or a red light, and they get into an accident. The first car's black box shows the speeding ("unsafe"), but the black box in the second car shows nothing.
Another example: One car is tailgating, and the other car is braking to try to wake-up the tailgater (and then speeding up to try to lose the tailgater). The first car's black box shows nothing, but the second car's black box shows "unsafe" driving.
Now, I realize that there are some situations in which the black box will help determine who actually caused the accident. The problem is that the data is likely to be one-sided much of the time -- and that one-sided data will likely be misinterpreted to benefit insurance companies. Sorry, but that should be obvious. Even if an insurance company isn't involved (not sure why they wouldn't be, but hey), it's really hard for anyone to see hard data and then imagine that there might be another side of the story. So you can see why this situation could be ripe for abuse, misinterpretation, and why it might not make vehicles "safer," as the government imagines.
Obviously, black boxes in aircraft are a different story. Sky traffic isn't quite rush hour in NYC, so problems that arise in the air are usually solely related to the plane.
There are, of course, other questions that the bill doesn't address. For example, are there penalties if you take the black box out of your car, or disable it? There are penalties for not installing the box, but can you after-market mod your car and get rid of it? How will the government ensure that your black box data won't be hacked or retrieved without your permission/a court order? Password protection? Some other type of security?