Will Facebook In Cars Become Illegal?

June 7, 2011

The government is flexing its regulatory muscle again, and this time it's against social media on the road. While car manufacturers are looking for more ways to integrate technology, like Ford SYNC to monitor your vitals, they are coming under fire from the federal level to minimize gadgetry.

"There's absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "It's not necessary."

LaHood also noted that the Transportation Department is working to finish a new set of guidelines dictating the design and operation of in-vehicle communications technology. The new book on car tech is due early next year, and it will include studies of whether making communication via text or voice "hands free" makes any significant difference in safety.

Some car manufacturers are already ahead of the curve and have already been working on voice recognition technology. GM's 4G OnStar is looking to bring hands on to dictating update messages and all sorts of commands to Facebook.

LaHood's opinion is all part of his long campaign against technology and media streams entering a driving environment. The Secretary has even gone to push BMW to free up advertisement money to create public service announcements against distracted driving.

But does it really matter what the LaHood says? Not really.

Where the auto industry cannot provide the tech, industry can and recently Microsoft, Google, and Apple have been ramping up their cloud computing features including more social media and media streaming directly to devices.

Apple just announced its new iOS 5, which will bring a deeply integrated twitter client for iPhones and a Blackberry like messaging service for iPads. Google is ready to add a YouTube Movie rental service to Android devices and the Mango update for Microsoft WIndows Phone 7 turns for the world into a giant search engine with Bing!

The government? It can only ticket your wallet into the ground, as witnessed by LaHood's request for $50 million to expand the Transportation Department's texting-ticketing efforts in 2012.

[Wall Street Journal]

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