Big Brother wants to shut down your vehicle on command

Earlier this month I wrote about so-called V2V technology, which would allow (mandate?) your car to broadcast a complete record of your driving habits, routes, destinations, etc.  In due course it’s likely to make possible completely automated journeys from start to finish, where your car is controlled by a traffic system and you’re merely a passenger along for the ride.

Now it looks like the European Union has ideas of its own.

The European Union is secretly developing a “remote stopping” device to be fitted to all cars that would allow the police to disable vehicles at the flick of a switch from a control room.

Confidential documents from a committee of senior EU police officers, who hold their meetings in secret, have set out a plan entitled “remote stopping vehicles” as part of wider law enforcement surveillance and tracking measures.

“The project will work on a technological solution that can be a ‘build in standard’ for all cars that enter the European market,” said a restricted document.

The devices, which could be in all new cars by the end of the decade, would be activated by a police officer working from a computer screen in a central headquarters.

Once enabled the engine of a car used by a fugitive or other suspect would stop, the supply of fuel would be cut and the ignition switched off.

The technology, scheduled for a six-year development timetable, is aimed at bringing dangerous high-speed car chases to an end and to make redundant current stopping techniques such as spiking a vehicle’s tyres.

The proposal was outlined as part of the “key objectives” for the “European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies”, or Enlets, a secretive off-shoot of a European “working party” aimed at enhancing police cooperation across the EU.

Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring police powers, state surveillance and civil liberties in the EU, have leaked the documents amid concerns the technology poses a serious threat to civil liberties.

“We all know about the problems surrounding police stop and searches, so why will be these cars stopped in the first place,” said Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch.

“We also need to know if there is any evidence that this is a widespread problem. Let’s have some evidence that this is a problem, and then let’s have some guidelines on how this would be used.”

. . .

The introduction of stopping devices has raised questions of road safety. David Davis, the Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, warned that the technology could pose a danger to all road users.

“I would be fascinated to know what the state’s liability will be if they put these devices in all vehicles and one went off by accident whilst a car was doing 70mph on a motorway with a truck behind it resulting in loss of life,” he said.

“It is time legislators stopped believing technology is a form of magic and realised that is fallible, and those failures do real harm.”

There’s more at the link.

The Nanny State will stop at nothing to exercise greater and greater control over its citizens subjects.  Expect this project to be enthusiastically welcomed by our bureaucratic wannabe overlords on this side of the Atlantic, too.

I predict a roaring trade in rebuilt older-model engines fitted with carburetors, and no computer control whatsoever.  In response, look for the authorities to tighten emission control standards, so that no car not fitted with a ‘black box’ can pass them . . .



  1. OK, swell. So…from whom are the police going to buy their cars in 6 years?

    Oh, you say, police vehicles will be "special" and not have the shutdown feature? So, then, there will be manufacturer-developed tweaks, and as we all know, computer folks will never be able to figure that out.
    Or, more likely, figure out how to shut down only police vehicles.

    Bring it on, assholes. There already exist car hacks bypassing existing auto security systems and throttle controls, meaning the pimple-faced schmuck with a laptop is already one step ahead of car makers. Government agencies buy identical vehicles in large lots. Think about that for a minute.

  2. So, a high-speed controllable car suddenly becomes a high-speed uncontrollable car, as they shut the power steering and power brakes off.

    Of course, there are never any potholes, bumps, badly banked curves, or hapless bystanders in the bureaucrats' dream world.

    (sarcasm) Brilliant.(/sarcasm)

  3. An electric vehicle (engine retrofit to an older model) would have no problems with the tightened emissions test.

  4. The Commujnist Chinese have been using such devices in their aircraft for at least five decades.
    They're called ánti-defection devices, and they work.
    I know from personal observation during my time in the Australian Air Force.

  5. Of course, we can trust the badges to NEVER, EVER abuse this power, and the system will be totally hack-proof, so that no hard-core criminals will ever be able to disable that feature on their get-away car. There will be no incentive to own or buy older cars, not quite so shiny and modern and well-equipped, either.
    Fools. They have been watching to many movies with plot holes you could park a whale in.

  6. " look for the authorities to tighten emission control standards, so that no car not fitted with a 'black box' can pass them ."

    CA goes one better. They have been taking vehicles off the road by changing the emission standards that they have to meet. Apparently, there are no regs to keep them from doing this. Got an early ecu controlled vehicle? Good luck getting it to pass in CA.

    They don't really care what comes out the tailpipe, as much as forcing you to keep it totally stock at the same time. The hotrod guys can make cars run cleaner, but CA won't allow it. It's all about "control".

  7. I want the black market version so certain drivers who greatly annoy me will be forced to move over.

  8. And another thing: Forget criminals disabling the remote-shutoff on their own vehicles, this technology will be a gigantic boon to kidnappers, rapists and the like. And once you've been stopped by the bad people, well, the State's already prevented you from having a firearm (or even a knife) to defend yourself.

    Of course, the high-value politicals will be exempt, much like Senator F's concealed-carry permit.

  9. I'm somewhat amazed that no one has explicitly brought up this issue (although Anonymous has touched on it):

    Assume that your all-benevolent government installed such a system…now, assume the worst: that this all-benevolent government collapsed and was taken over by a gaggle of politicians who don't have qualms stopping political dissidents…

    Because we have no record whatsoever of any benevolent government becoming frighteningly tyrannical. No, sirree! Governments can only do good!

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