Infrastructure Bill Requires Cars to Detect "Impaired" Drivers
Sep 23, 2021 • 18:27
From a data privacy perspective, though, there’s an entirely different type of grounds for concern here: This amounts to mandating a sophisticated set of sensors be installed in a space where many Americans spend huge amounts of time. (And not just commuting—many people live in vehicles, whether out of choice or necessity, at least part of the time.) A narrowly‐tailored sensor that only detects blood alcohol content, if designed to immediately discard any readings below the legal threshold, might not sound worryingly invasive. But the mandate extends to monitoring for other forms of “impairment,” which can require more intrusive types of sensors. One such system being developed by Nissan includes a “camera atop the instrument cluster” which “looks for facial cues signaling the driver is inebriated” while “the vehicle itself looks for driving patterns suggesting an impaired driver.” In other words, one form this mandatory technology is likely to take involves pre‐installed video surveillance with facial recognition capabilities. (Law enforcement, no doubt, will eagerly think of many other applications for a ubiquitous system of cameras installed in private spaces—cameras which, by design, the vehicle owner will necessarily be unable to deactivate.