CA appellate court Decision: Black Box Data OUT!

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brian
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:52 am

CA appellate court Decision: Black Box Data OUT!

Post by brian » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:46 pm

AR job security! Crazy decision by CA appellate court. Sorry, but MY OPINION is ITS CRAZY! The Luddites won this round!

Feb 9, 2011: Court Holds that Data About Car Speed and Brake Usage Stored in Car's Computer Protected by Fourth Amendment
  • A California appellate court has handed down a fascinating opinion today in State v. Xinos on whether and how the Fourth Amendment regulates government access to data stored in a car's internal computer that controls the airbags and seatbelts. After a fatal car accident, the police downloaded the data from the impounded car and used it to help reconstruct the accident and convict the driver of vehicular manslaughter. The information from the computer "showed information captured during the five seconds before defendant's vehicle experienced a change in velocity. It disclosed the vehicle's speed during the five seconds before the incident" and showed that the brakes had been activated at that time. Held: The data was protected by the Fourth Amendment, the retrieval of the data was unconstitutional, and the conviction had to be overturned.
From the opinion:
  • We do not accept the Attorney General's argument that defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the data contained in his vehicle's SDM. The precision data recorded by the SDM was generated by his own vehicle for its systems operations. While a person's driving on public roads is observable, that highly precise, digital data is not being exposed to public view or being conveyed to anyone else.
    .. . We conclude that a motorist's subjective and reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to her or his own vehicle encompasses the digital data held in the vehicle's SDM.
    In cases of fatal collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the particular facts and circumstances may give rise to probable cause to believe the SDM contains evidence of a crime. But in this case, the prosecution failed to show that the objective facts known to the police officers at the time of the download constituted probable cause to search the SDM for evidence of crime. The download occurred long after the collision and criminal investigation. The officers who conducted the download were merely complying with an unexplained request of the D.A.’s Office and believed no relevant data would be found. The download of the data was not supported by probable cause.
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brian
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:52 am

Re: CA appellate court Decision: Black Box Data OUT!

Post by brian » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:09 am

I believe the appellate court erred in painting the opinion with such a MILE WIDE brush.
They should have merely addressed ‘probable cause’. But OHHHHH NOOO…they took it so much farther.
They added enough legalese to keep courts confused for years until the opinions are clarified.
The SDM is part of a vehicle and should be subject to examination in EVERY case. It needs to become routine. If you don’t like it, ride a horse, save a cowboy! (ref to Big n Rich tune)
The ‘external’ v ‘internal’ legal mumbo jumbo of the opinion will be used in future cases to exclude any examination of the ‘interior’ of a vehicle (trunk, passenger compartment, engine) until ‘probable cause’ is established and warrant issued.
Where does it end?

Here are a few of the ‘gems’ included in the opinion…
  • “But in this case, the government was not making any observations of conduct exposed to the public view. Here, defendant's own vehicle was internally producing data for its safe operation. That exceedingly precise data was not being exposed to the public or being conveyed to any other person"

    “The reviewing justice court in Christmann concluded that the downloading of data from the vehicle's SDM was "a reasonable extension of Quackenbush." (Id. at p. 441.) Without any analysis, the court stated that "[t]he downloading of the information is not analogous to a container search, nor does it extend to the private areas of the vehicle." (Ibid.) We find this analysis to be flawed”

    “We conclude that a motorist's subjective and reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to her or his own vehicle encompasses the digital data held in the vehicle's SDM.”

    “The download of the data was not supported by probable cause.”

    “The retrieval of raw data from a vehicle's SDM not believed by police to hold any evidence of crime is not a reexamination or closer look at areas of a vehicle already reasonably believed to be or contain evidence of a crime; it is a new and different intrusion.”
Brian
Question? Comment? Please email forum@mchenrysoftware.com. Also see the McHenry Forum Index
Visit McHenrySoftware.com for technical information & software. McHenryConsultants.com for litigation consulting.
(c) McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.

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