Anti-Crime Motoring Technology Drives Up Fears of Mishaps
A Q & A type blog addressing some worries people may have heard about a new development in the relentless fight against lawbreakers.
Q: What’s all this I hear about a plan to remotely stop all cars?
A: In fact the EU is developing a device which will remotely stop all moving cars at the flick of a switch, in effect. In practice, on the click of a mouse.
Q: Why, for goodness sake?
A: As part of a wide law enforcement surveillance and tracking, they are anxious to stop high speed police car chases.
Q: How for goodness sake?
A: Any approved police officer will be able to activate the system from a control room, based on CCTV evidence or police patrol requests.
Q: When for goodness sake?
A: They think within a decade, these devices will be fitted in all new cars within the EU zone as standard.
Q: How do they work?
A: Simply by cutting fuel supply and turning off the ignition so there would be instant stopping.
Q: Safer than spiking tyres or having police cars hurtling in pursuit?
A: That’s what they’re saying. Yes.
Q: Sounds like a good idea to stop criminals driving away?
A: In theory yes.
Q: Could they adapt the system to curb speeding as well of the general motoring public?
A: Of course. They could do that now actually, but it would cost a lot and would be far more than they get in fines from motorists through cameras.
Q: Everybody is cool with this idea, yeah?
A: Well, actually no. Statewatch who monitor state and and police powers and fight for civil liberties suggests there is insufficient evidence to justify the loss of yet more civil liberties. They are demanding a code of conduct after proper discussion.
Q: No discussion so far?
A: No, it’s part of the European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies and has already been embraced by the Home Office and senior police officers.
Q: Only criminals need fear it, right?
A: They always say that when law is ratcheted up another notch. Escaping cars are bad and dangerous and some villains get away, but most don’t. Some innocent public and police die. But is that sufficient to make us all subject to it?
Q: A price worth paying to stop criminals, maybe?
A: Maybe. But if one of these devices was activated by error or deliberately by hackers (and we know nothing is totally immune from their work), when a car was doing 70mph down the motorway and a fleeing car is suddenly stopped with a 44-ton lorry immediately behind it…. what IS the price worth paying?
Q: Gulp. Who is legally liable then?
A: Nobody knows yet. Only the lawyers are likely to benefit from that.
Q: OK, Have you any other blogs about motoring, roads and crime issues?
A: Yes, we have:
A Quick Drive Around Eco-Friendly Motoring, 19 November 2013
Some People Have Seen the Future: It’s a Legal Minefield, 26 November 2013
Cybercriminals Should Keep Us All Alert, Looking Over Our Shoulders, 22 October 2013
Cycling Rides Up a Storm of Controversy, 27 February 2013
Image: West Midlands Police