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 . . .