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I created a new market category called CRASH- ZONE CYBERSECURITY!

There are five modes of transportation in America: Aviation, Railroad, Marine, Pipeline and Highway.

I created a new market category called CRASH- ZONE CYBERSECURITY!

GOAL: Empower the vehicle owner with ‘black box’ cybersecurity

There are five modes of transportation in America: Aviation, Railroad, Marine, Pipeline and Highway.

Each mode uses data recorders. Aviation was the first and Highway is the latest and most controversial.

From 1998 to 2015, I helped put automotive ‘black box’ Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in cars and light trucks. Today, they are in 9 out of 10 new vehicles in America.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites 91.6% of new cars and light trucks include EDRs to record a vehicle’s dynamic time-series data just prior to or during a crash, intended for retrieval after the crash.

Actually, many post-1996 vehicles have EDRs.

To get this technology in vehicles took an eighteen-year struggle for standardization, legislation, regulation, technical innovation, and legal case law. It was a windy road and bumpy ride.

I wrote FATAL EXIT: The Automotive Black Box Debate which details how challenging it was to set the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) global standard for EDR devices.

Congressional Research Service Report R43651

The initial concept for EDRs came from a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab report on air bags.

The goal was to enhance vehicle and highway safety by providing vehicle data for post-crash analysis.

I’ve always advocated for fair usage of event data recorders (EDRs), more popularly known as “black boxes,” which capture information such as the speed of a vehicle and the use of safety features.

EDRs are commonly termed ‘automotive black boxes’ by motorists who understand they exist, but the vast majority of Americans never heard of them.

Just ask the next person you meet what they think about automotive black boxes and see what I mean.

In the event of a collision, this information can help officials understand what went wrong.

Actually, EDRs are capable of creating a multi-dimensional story of what the vehicle — and its motorist — were doing up to twenty seconds before, during, and for a brief time after a crash.

However, over time EDR data morphed into civil and criminal cases— and then data that was once only interesting to safety researchers became urgent evidence for auto accident attorneys.

Eventually, 17 states passed EDR privacy statutes with varying protections.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) notes “Seventeen states— Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington — have enacted statutes relating to event data recorders and privacy.”

Then Congress passed the Driver Privacy Act of 2015, to assure that the vehicle owner “owns” the data, but they did not provide any means to do so.

The Driver’s Privacy Act of 2015 “Declares that any data in an event data recorder required to be installed in a passenger motor vehicle (as provided for under Department of Transportation [DOT] regulations concerning the collection, storage, and retrievability of onboard motor vehicle crash event data) is the property of the owner or lessee of the vehicle in which the recorder is installed, regardless of when the vehicle was manufactured.”

Limited federal protection exists, but we need more safeguards.

The cybersecurity goal is securing data access during the “window of opportunity” to hack, tamper, or alter data which is from the time of the crash to when the data is downloaded by an entity trusted by the court.

I tried, but failed to get Congress and federal regulators to provide more consumer protections.

I then started a U.S. Veterans’ small business in North Carolina to directly address and solve the problem.

So, I formed a North Carolina corporation in 2010, and developed a product (AUTOCYB) to safeguard access to EDR data. This took 5 years.

In 2018, I won an award from the NFC Forum in London for the best use of Near Field Communication (NFC) “TAP” technology.

I enhanced my product with NFC technology and created an online automotive crash-zone service (AUTOTAP) that works with a cell phone “TAP” to communicate with a cybersecurity vault.

Basically, I created a simple way to empower the vehicle owner, safeguard EDR data, exert 4TH AMENDMENT protection and provide Courts a chain-of-custody of EDR evidence in legal cases.

In 2019, the ACLU prevailed in a landmark EDR 4TH AMENDMENT case (Mobley v. State) in the Georgia Supreme Court. This ruling confirmed motorist’s have 4TH AMENDMENT protection.

Thinking back, for years I failed because I was just another start-up with a good idea (but without adequate funding) thinking that having the best product was all I needed.

I was wrong. I needed to create the market as well.

It took me years to understand that motorist’s really needed my product and services at the lowest point in vehicle ownership — following a crash.

Since there are 20,000 to-a-ways every day in America nobody was empowering the vehicle owner and EDR data was subject to tampering.

The automotive cybersecurity risk was acknowledged by the FBI, the USDOT, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a public service announcement.

Today, many motorists still wrongfully assume that automakers or federal regulators will protect them against cybersecurity risks. This is a false hope. To date, they have not.

Researchers and White-Hat Hackers proved that cars and light trucks can be hacked.

All things considered, I solved a problem most motorists still do not even know they have yet. Consumer awareness remains very low.

I created new demand where none existed in a new market category with 165 million potential users.

A call to action plan to empower the vehicle owner

My plan is twofold: 1) to inform the public about an evolving and disruptive technology that will have a direct impact on current and future generations of vehicle owners, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, and 2) to offer a practical immediate solution based on decades of federal

regulatory inaction, Congressional apathy, automakers denial of a problem and privacy advocates legal failures to date.

Issues

EDRs speak for the victims who no longer can.

So, who gets to tell the crash story and why can they currently do so without the owner’s knowledge or permission?

Why is chain-of-custody of vehicle crash data so woefully lacking?

How do we know if a particular EDR crash data file came from a particular vehicle? How long will judges permit “rusty EDR science” to prevail in Court?

Despite warnings in their vehicle owner’s manual, many drivers are not aware of their vehicle’s crash data recording capability.

I often wonder who decided to bury this warning in a document that few ever read instead of just using a sun visor place card notice.

Civil liberties and privacy groups have raised concerns about the implications of event data recorders ‘spying’ on car users, particularly as the issue of ‘who owns the data’ although being fully legally resolved, still lacks the vehicle owner implementation.

Controversy continues over the use and misuse of recorded data as evidence in court cases and for insurance claims against the driver of a crashed vehicle.

Although consumers continue to be interested in safety advancements, they remain concerned about issues of privacy, tampering, hacking, and misuse of vehicle crash data.

You may wonder if an EDR is infallible and how crash data is currently protected? The short answers are “no , and just barely”.

Vehicles are the next cybersecurity risk

Solutions

So my plan is to inform the vehicle owner to become aware they own the data that their vehicles generated and also that there is a simple means to control access and safeguard evidence within the limits of State and Federal laws.

I believe proper use of EDR data will lead to the greatest auto safety improvements ever achieved.

Now, we just need to make sure they are being used fairly, as example, by using other technologies to verify that the data downloaded was from the crash at issue, otherwise we risk a consumer backlash.

The downloading process is tricky and vehicles have different types of EDRs. Simply put, it’s complicated and usually the vehicle owner is the last to know their data was downloaded.

The data is subject to interpretation and it depends on where you crash! Empowering the Vehicle Owner — Call to Action!

If the vehicle owner “owns” the data then the simple solution is to provide a means to control access to the data both pre-crash and post-crash within the limits of state and federal laws.

When the user of our product attaches the connector lockout within their vehicle(s) they are actively exerting their Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy.

There is also a large market to prevent vehicles from being stolen. Our product helps to prevent vehicle theft, odometer fraud and vehicle identification number (VIN) tampering.

Sorry it took so long — but now it’s your turn to safeguard your automotive ‘black box’ crash data.

Let us join you!

Who would be ideal partners?

Accident Attorneys, insurance companies, towing companies, first responders, law- enforcement, impound lot operators, automotive body shops, automotive repair facilities, new vehicle dealerships, fleet owners, and generally all of the online and in-store automotive aftermarkets.

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