One issue never properly resolved involves autos sold in the United States with a memory chip that records the last seconds before a crash.
It doesn't hold much data, but it could be critical in some lawsuits to determine what was going on seconds before a crash in terms of throttle position, brake use and steering direction.
Who owns the data? Can the information be used against the car owner or would that violate protections against self-incrimination?
Now, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Justice Department is tracking millions of cars and knows just where they are.
The Journal, citing government documents and current and former officials, said the effort started out tracking vehicles near the border with Mexico to combat drug cartels but over the years expanded around the country. The Justice Department is photographing hundreds of millions of license plates and cataloging them.
Sadly, like some other government programs, this one has expanded beyond its original mission. As the feds try to snare crooks, they are collecting data on millions of citizens who are unaware of the program.
It amazes me that our government sees no problem with this and continues to photograph your license plate and mine with wild abandon.
It has grown into a massive intrusion on our rights.
It seems the lowly auto has become a major tool to create a database that the federal government is sharing with state and local law enforcement investigating other types of crimes.
What's in store for the car buyers of tomorrow when advancing technology could make this latest revelation seem small and insignificant?
As cars interact more with one another, it's scary to consider what will be available to government agencies and others looking to access private data for their own purposes.
Everyone in the auto industry should object strenuously to any intrusion into the privacy of vehicle owners.
Once a government agency starts a project like this, it might be impossible to shut it down.
Let's hope it's not too late to stop this one.