Eideard

Brits support EU plan for universal surveillance of drivers

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The government is backing a project to install a “communication box” in new cars to track the whereabouts of drivers anywhere in Europe, the Guardian can reveal. Under the proposals, vehicles will emit a constant “heartbeat” revealing their location, speed and direction of travel…A consortium of manufacturers has indicated that the router device could be installed in all new cars as early as 2013…

The Guardian has been given unpublished documents detailing the proposed uses for the system. They confirm that it could have profound implications for privacy, enabling cars to be tracked to within a metre – more accurate than current satellite navigation technologies.

The European commission has asked governments to reserve radio frequency on the 5.9 Gigahertz band, essentially setting aside a universal frequency on which CVIS technology will work…

Paul Kompfner, who manages CVIS, said governments would have to decide on privacy safeguards. “It is time to start a debate … so the right legal and privacy framework can be put in place before the technology reaches the market,” he said.

The system allows cars to “talk” to one another and the road. Blah, blah, blah.

Data will also be sent to “control centres” that manage traffic, enabling a vastly improved system to monitor and even direct vehicles…

Although the plan is to initially introduce the technology on a voluntary basis, Kompfner conceded that for the system to work it would need widespread uptake. He envisages governments making the technology mandatory for safety reasons. Any system that tracks cars could also be used for speed enforcement or national road tolling.

OK. So, we’re talking about RFID chips for your car. All the useful stuff is completely understandable.

Is there anyone in power in British politics who can be trusted with this technology? On the Right? On the so-called Left?

Then, when the Brits are finished with prototyping the system, it’s our turn in the U.S..

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Written by Ed Campbell

March 31, 2009 at 6:00 am

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