Remember that great video that Chevrolet put out extolling the features of the new Valet Mode with the Performance Data Recorder? Activating the Valet Mode allows you to record front-facing video as well as capture audio from within the car so you can help keep your Corvette safe when it’s in the hands of others.
Well it turns out that recording audio from within the car may be considered a felony in some states that require notice and consent to individuals that they are being recorded and now GM is sending notices out to dealerships and customers alerting them to this fact as well as promising a future update to the PDR system.
The first letter we have was sent to dealerships:
Attention: General Manager, Service Advisor, Service Manager, Parts and Service Director, Parts Manager, New Vehicle Sales Manager, and Warranty Administrator
This notice is being sent to you regarding 2015 model year Corvettes equipped with the Performance Data Recorder (UQT).
The Performance Data Recorder (UQT) in these vehicles, when used in Valet Mode, allows a customer to record the driving of their Corvette when the vehicle is not in their control. In Valet Mode, the PDR will also record activity and conversations that take place in the vehicle.
To help our customers use the Performance Data Recorder (UQT) consistent with legal requirements that pertain to audio recording devices, we will be requiring a very important update to the system of each affected vehicle in the near future. We expect that the update will be available early next month. At that time, we will provide details about the update and let you know what steps you need to take, if any, to complete the update for vehicles in your inventory.
In the meantime, you must advise any customers who take delivery of an impacted vehicle that they should refrain from using the Valet Mode until the update takes place. If they do use the Valet Mode, they should (i) notify any occupants of the vehicle that they will be recorded while in the vehicle, and (ii) obtain their consent to this recording. It is very important that you explain this to each customer at the time of delivery.
Attached is a copy of a written communication for you to provide to customers to accomplish this notice. We are sending the same communication to customers who have already taken delivery of a Corvette vehicle equipped with PDR.
We greatly appreciate your cooperation in conveying this important information to your customers.
While common sense would seem to dictate that there in no expectation of privacy while being in someone else’s vehicle, the mere threat of customers being liable for criminal or civil punishment rising from using the Valet Mode with PDR was enough for GM to communicate this immediately to dealers and issue a “do not use” notice to buyers of the 2015 Corvette with the PDR:
We can imagine that the update will have some sort of notice, either audible or on-screen, that will notify whoever is in the vehicle that the car is in valet mode and what they say is being recorded. We might even see some sort of consent that would need to be given by an occupant in the vehicle like clicking an OK box on the infotainment center’s screen for the audio portion of the system to work as designed.
A member on the CorvetteForum named Gadfly adds that using the PDR to make a video only recording is legal in all 50 states. But using the PDR to make a video AND AUDIO recording without the owner in the car is illegal in these 13 states:
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington State.
Here is a link that may help owners in determining what the laws are for recording audio video in their states: www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/state-law-recording.
We’ll keep you updated on when the new PDR update is available. In the meantime, enjoy that Valet Mode video from Chevrolet and think about the possiblities of what conversations might have been recorded:
[VIDEO] Chevrolet Puts the 2015 Corvette’s Performance Data Recorder to the Test
[VIDEO] The Ice Bucket Challenge Filmed with the 2015 Corvette Stingray’s PDR
[VIDEO] Valet Mode with Performance Data Recorder Coming to 2015 Corvettes