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Big Brother is watching you drive [Mar. 31st, 2009|02:10 pm]
Big Brother is watching: surveillance box to track drivers is backed

• Privacy row brewing over surveillance on the road
• Box could reduce accidents, pollution and congestion

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.


On the one hand, this would presumably mean an end to moronic drivers acting stupidly and dangerously and getting away with it. People who run cyclists off the road, or overtake in dangerous places, or generally act like motorised morons could be tracked and peanlised. The "Everyone should obey the law, damnit!" part of me would really like to see a system like that. Perhaps it could even be expanded to identify the idiots who between traffic lights race ahead and then cut in in front when you'd planned to drive at a nice steady speed and hence get to the next lights just as they changed, instead of which you have to brake to avoid the "me first!" brigade.

But thinking about the bigger picture, the state surveillance facilities it would enable are truly terrifying. Every journey tracked and recorded. Everywhere you've ever been stored on a searchable database. And the police and other authorities constantly trawling through the data just in case there's a pattern, or they think there's a pattern.

All they need to do once it's in place is start adding requirements for ID before you're allowed to buy public transport tickets, and it becomes completely impossible for anyone to travel anywhere in the country without the state knowing their every move.

Is that really the kind of world we want to live in? I don't, but I don't see any way to stop it either. "Think of the children!!!" someone will cry, and all of a sudden anyone who opposes state surveillance is a supporter of terrorism or peadophiles or the gods know what else.

Remember freedom? It's already fading into history.

The state is watching. Always.


[User Picture]From: cyberspice
2009-03-31 01:43 pm (UTC)
I'll stick to motorbikes thank you.
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[User Picture]From: _pyromancer_
2009-03-31 01:50 pm (UTC)
You think that'll make any difference? They'll make it mandatory for all "motor vehicles" to have the box. And there'll be systems by the roadside to detect any passing vehicles heavier than a bicycle that don't have one, and alert the police. Try riding an unfitted motorbike once the system is in place and you'll get about ten miles before armed police from the anti-terrorism units catch up with you.
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[User Picture]From: cyberspice
2009-03-31 06:38 pm (UTC)
I'll be riding a motorbike. Its actually quite hard for anything other than a bike to keep up and that includes helicopters! In these police camera action programs they typically catch people because they fall off! That's because they're crap riders.
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[User Picture]From: _pyromancer_
2009-03-31 07:11 pm (UTC)
That's a nice dream, and I'm sure Hollywood could make a great movie out of it. But back in the real world, sooner or later you have to stop, for food, or fuel, or the loo. Given they've already managed to catch and prosecute the guy who was pulling V-signs at forward facing speed cameras thinking his bike would be anonymous, it won't take them long to catch up with anyone who does flout the law.

Remember we live in a country where somone was shot seven times in the head for the crime of being Brazillian, and where all the tapes from the supposedely "comprehensive" CCTV covering the location where it happened were mysteriously found to be completely blank for that day.

Make a small protest about the system, and all you'll get is points on your license and a grand or two in fines. Do it a second time and they'll take your license away. Do it a third time, and they'll find a way to lock you up on terror charges.

This isn't a joke or something that Robin-Hood style bravado can overcome. Total surveillance and monitoring of the entire population *is* coming, and there isn't a damn thing any of us can do to stop it.
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[User Picture]From: jozafeen
2009-03-31 01:49 pm (UTC)
'All they need to do once it's in place is start adding requirements for ID before you're allowed to buy public transport tickets, and it becomes completely impossible for anyone to travel anywhere in the country without the state knowing their every move'

I take it you missed out on seeing this news about ID and personal details being proposed for inland ferries and flights then?

I used to be one of those 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about' types but it's just getting so silly now that even I'm thinking of getting my bolshy activist head out of the cupboard!

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[User Picture]From: _pyromancer_
2009-03-31 02:15 pm (UTC)
I'd not seen that, ta!

That's just the start though. Once they finally get their ID cards in place (which will happen eventually regardless), after a few years it'll be "and now to help stop terrorists we're making it compulsory to swipe in with your ID card whenever you buy a train ticket or board a train".

The sort of systems the worst dictators of the 20th century could only ever have dreamed about will soon be the everyday reality.
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From: ext_96109
2009-03-31 04:00 pm (UTC)
Cheers for the link. I've posted it to the Open Rights Group newsblog:

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/newsblog/ (http://www.openrightsgroup.org/newsblog/)
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[User Picture]From: davefish
2009-03-31 07:48 pm (UTC)
Apparently it is a £36M initiate...

My guess is that it would end up costing several hundred times that (at least.)
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[User Picture]From: _pyromancer_
2009-03-31 11:06 pm (UTC)
That'll barely pay the wages of the civil servants who oversee the thing...

But cost won't deter this government, and TBH I doubt it'll deter the next one either. Being able to track everyone, all the time, is a dream beyond price to those who seek to rule.
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