Pretty much all newer cars have a sensing and diagnostic module (SDM), or crash data recorder, a kind of black box that records data relating to a collision. There was a felony hit and run and manslaughter. The defendant's car was seized. A year later, the police
(on advice of a DA!) downloaded the SDM data without a warrant.
In a case of first impression, this California Court of Appeal holds that a driver DOES have a
subjective and reasonable expectation of privacy in the SDM data. The California Court of Appeal says that the police could have probable cause to get the data, but they didn't have PC here. The valid seizure of the car didn't justify an intrusion in an internal part or component of the car.
People v. Xinos; 2011 DJ DAR 2164; DJ, 2/9/11; C/A 6th