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  • brits announce "to hell with our WWII victory, totalitarianism is jolly good for us!"

    it's official... after a solid couple decades of creeping, inch by inch, toward a completely totalitarian-style big brother society, the UK has decided to monitor 100% of the movements of every single motorist in the country (if i am reading this article correctly) as part of a plan to generate revenue "enhance public safety"...

    the Department for Transport... has commissioned companies to develop aircraft-style black boxes for cars. They will record every aspect of a vehicle's performance and automatically issue a ticket every time the vehicle exceeds a speed limit. The black boxes will be linked to central computers via the Global Positioning System so that the prevailing speed limit is known at any given point in time.
    and, of course, as we all know perfectly well from observing history, this technology will most certainly never be abused by those in power. nope. no-sir-ee... that would never happen in a million years. governments don't do things like that.

    here's another couple of gems from the descriptions of the "big brother's little black box" capabilities list...

    The black box will also be able to slow vehicles down by over-riding the engine management system
    so much for fleeing from, say, a criminal who's pursuing you or trying to get out of the path of a natural disaster such as a flood or forest fire. (rare situations, all, i'll admit. still, i don't like the idea that my vehicle could decide for me what the appropriate speed would be to travel at any given time.)

    Volvo has developed a system that can determine if a crash looks imminent. The driver is warned and if no action is taken the brakes are applied automatically... It uses radar and a camera to send continuous beams back and forth to determine the proximity of all objects, not just other vehicles. If the car is heading towards a wall or bridge or other object it will calculate the point at which immediate avoiding action must be taken. The driver is warned and if no action is taken the brakes are applied automatically.
    i don't even want to go into the number of ways i see a problem with that.

    ultimately, my opposition to technologies such as this is three-fold...

    1. civil liberties - it is undeniable that technology to track the movements of every citizen who travels by car can have horrid implications for freedom and privacy. it is also equally undeniable that the system will be abused almost as soon as it goes online.

    2. personal autonomy - different situations in life require different courses of action. one cannot draw up blanket policies to define what is appropriate conduct in 100% of all situations in which citizens may find themselves. having a rational mind and making value judgements for oneself (about where to go, with whom to associate, and -- yes -- how to drive a car) are an inherent right of any individual... particularly of someone who is a citizen of a free state.

    3. the decay of human capability - here comes the most obscure and extreme reference (one that i may get some flack for) but i am opposed to the trend of technology/government/etc taking average, day-to-day duties out of a citizen's hands as far as judgement is concerned. (i'm not talking about convenience technology... a washing machine makes the process of doing laundry easier but it doesn't dictate to the citizen when their clothes need to be cleaned.) part of a healthy life is having the ability to make decisions for oneself and then living with the conesequences of those decisions. while it may be possible for governments or corporations to prevent "suffering" on the part of society by controlling the actions of individual people, in contravenes my definition of what constitutes a healthy society. put another (rather cheesy) way... i don't want to live in a future full of spineless ignoramuses such as has been used as a plot mechanism fictional works like Vonnegut's Player Piano, Marco Brambilla's Demolition Man, or Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

    Just my $0.02... i'd absolutely love to hear yours.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; September 29, 2005, 12:01.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    In the US, we have had these for years. They are attached to emergency vehicles. Basicly the black box knows when the lights and sirens are on, and dictated whether the governor should place the top speed at 70 or not. It keeps a log on a harddrive and when the EMS inspection comes up, they hook into it and see your speeds and the dates. On some vehicles it even has a GPS readout.

    This is not on all EMS vehicles, obviously, but I have had the displeasure of driving one of them that did. I hope it never happens again. They say it is to save lives because the ambulance scares people....I say educate the public. It is less costly and allows us to do our job more effectively.
    -Ridirich

    "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

    Commander W.H. Hamilton

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ridirich
      In the US, we have had these for years. They are attached to emergency vehicles. Basicly the black box knows when the lights and sirens are on, and dictated whether the governor should place the top speed at 70 or not. It keeps a log on a harddrive and when the EMS inspection comes up, they hook into it and see your speeds and the dates. On some vehicles it even has a GPS readout.

      This is not on all EMS vehicles, obviously, but I have had the displeasure of driving one of them that did. I hope it never happens again. They say it is to save lives because the ambulance scares people....I say educate the public. It is less costly and allows us to do our job more effectively.
      At the same time, is this mandated by the government or something companies can decide independantly if they want to put on their fleet vehicles for liability reasons?

      I know Hertz was doing this in rental cars a while back and got smacked by the courts when they tried charging extra to drivers that had exceeded the speed limit.

      I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

      Comment


      • #4
        Lots of tractor trailer rigs have GPS antennas on them which broadcast location as well as speed. Drive too fast on the straightaways and get a pink slip in with your paycheck.

        There was talk of a $3 chip that can go on a car so the police can stop the car by sending a signal to it and disabling the fuel pump. I guess bad guys who steal money and kill people would not think twice of disabling the chip, assuming they can afford a nice new shiny car in the first place. And in 20 years when all cars have this chip, I can just see someone creating a way to stall all the cars on the freeway with signal generation.

        Yea like I want my car deciding when a crash is imminent and taking evasive action. Why would I trust my life to this technology? If it works so well why don't they put it on computers to stop them from crashing?

        Comment


        • #5
          The best thing is that when it happens,(which it will),if you don't have a new car that has had one fitted by the manufacturer, you'll have to pay to have one fitted yourself!

          Why is it that we have such an anti-car government? We are the ones that they work for and we should be the ones who decide whether or not to have something like this in the first place.

          It'd be interesting to see how long it would take someone to find a way around the 'black box'!?

          Comment


          • #6
            We've all heard of plans and studies, etc of persons in power wanting to use technology to limit things for 'safety' or 'security'. Most often this is put forth by the lazy and the inept in power so that they appear to be 'tackling the problem'.

            Projects and ideas like this concern me alot, however one need only look at history to realize that these people are more often than not, idiots.

            The UK has been full of situations like this recently. Thier national entitlement (read: national ID) card, traffic cameras in londons core, etc.

            Great idea, track every car at all times, dispenser on the dash to ticket them automatically.

            But who gets to pay for the box? Installation? How are you going to make something generic enough to be mass produced but be able to be installed in everything from a volkswagen to a yugo? Who maintains the units? What happens if the ticket dispenser runs out? What happens if your GPS suddenly says you were doing 900 miles an hour while it was switching sattelites?

            And the inevitable question, how many seconds before one of us has the unit reporting us going 5mph somewhere in dubai?

            A project like this is completely unfiesable purly based on cost and logistics, hell look at the fun everyone has trying to make passports with a common criteria, or the UK ID card that's rumored to cost a staggering amount per card.

            Talking heads usually think that technology is the solution to everything, however they rarely take into account the logistics of such a project or they just don't realize the inherinet problems (i.e. reliably tracking speed via GPS, weather obscuring GPS signal, etc) and we are left with the bill for thier 'fact finding missions'

            We already give a certain amount of control over to our vehicles anyways. Traction control, ABS, and umpteen other systems remove direct control from the operator and make decisions for you, usually much faster than you could make them (think ABS). If a car can prevent, or minimize the impact of a rear end collision by applying brakes, that makes sense. Of course you'd want the computer to only do so if you were past the 'point of no return' where given your velocity and braking distance physics takes over and your going to hit it.

            All that said, I'd be more worried about systems on vehicles and 'feature creep' where systems we some to accept as commonplace (GM's onstar, BMW's new phone-home-because-I-need-an-oil-change system) become so integrated that it's childs play to adapt the system to large scale abuse of rights and people just accept it because it's common place to them now.

            Don't fear the pipe dreams, fear the direction we're traveling in.

            /rant mode off
            Never drink anything larger than your head!





            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by noid
              At the same time, is this mandated by the government or something companies can decide independantly if they want to put on their fleet vehicles for liability reasons?

              I know Hertz was doing this in rental cars a while back and got smacked by the courts when they tried charging extra to drivers that had exceeded the speed limit.
              Yes, services are allowed to decide if they want them on or not, though they get a HUGE insurance break if they do install them.

              From what I understand some semi trucks are equipped with a chip simular that, at the end of a specific set of time, allows them to only go 45MPH max until their "rest time" is over and then they can go 55+ again.
              -Ridirich

              "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

              Commander W.H. Hamilton

              Comment


              • #8
                a few clarifications and additions with respect to my comments...

                yes, i know that these devices have been around for a while. i even posted (either here or on some other forum) about a unit offered by a GPS mfgr with whom i've dealt before... Deluo Black Box. my concern stemed from the notion of their usage becoming non-optional for drivers.

                i recognize a clear distinction between fleet vehicles (either commercial or EMS based) versus privately owned autos. parties in control of a large allotment of vehicles have the right to monitor their use, etc etc.

                rental cars is where it gets a little hazy for me. those who rent vehicles should be afforded all of the same liberties and privacies that someone in their own personal car gets. it's rather akin to renting a hotel room. during the time you're staying there, for constitutional purposes the room is recognized as your "house" as defined by the 4th Amendment. (hotel management cannot consent to a warrantless police search of your room, for example)

                cars do not have the same protections as dwellings, but the law defines specific ways that our rights aren't to be infringed and i feel that undercutting those rights during a car rental runs contrary to our existing standards.
                "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                - Trent Reznor

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok, it's like this...

                  There are some really good reasons that we do not discuss politics and religion on this forum. There used to be a politics and religion thread and it was closed.

                  If you think about it, and review this thread, you may begin to understand *why* we may not want posts of an explicitly political nature on the forums that we use to talk about the completely unrelated subject of computer security. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional or a student of computer science here to see if this area of research interests you, you can appreciate some of the difficulties that are associated with the politicization of something far more closely wed to science than religion.

                  In our present political climate, even moreso than before the DMCA, RIAA, MPAA and Patriot Acts I and II some thought should be given to how we present our political views in a forum that is closely monitored by TLA's and that is associated with what some in power feel should be a crime anywhere but within the closed confines of governmental authority and control. This community is made up of individuals who possess the knowledge, skill and intelligence to be labeled as a threat by the unwashed, uneducated, illiterate masses (who are the majority, by the way, by over 90 to 1).

                  In other words... what about this latest punch in the face of liberty seems alien to the trend of the last 5 years and what in the world makes you think it's going to get better before it gets much, much worse? I really don't want to go on record as saying "you think it's bad now" but I just have a feeling.
                  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ndex
                    There are some really good reasons that we do not discuss politics and religion on this forum. There used to be a politics and religion thread and it was closed.
                    and a good number of people have expressed interest in it being brought back. i don't know what to expect on that front but i'll certainly keep my fingers crossed.

                    Originally posted by ndex
                    you may begin to understand *why* we may not want posts of an explicitly political nature on the forums that we use to talk about the completely unrelated subject of computer security.
                    i do not accept your general premise that computer security and the global political climate are unrelated. changes in the law, in public policy, and in information gathering techniques have a direct and incontrovertable connection to the security industry. and anyone who is willing to earn a paycheck with their skills but then sticks their head in the sand when it comes to matters of liberty and rights possibly doesn't care if the job they love is going to even be around in the future.

                    Originally posted by ndex
                    you can appreciate some of the difficulties that are associated with the politicization of something far more closely wed to science than religion.
                    i don't fully take your meaning here... and i don't feel that i am politicizing anything. life and law are political matters, i'm merely commenting on them.

                    Originally posted by ndex
                    some thought should be given to how we present our political views in a forum that is closely monitored by TLA's
                    people are free to censor themselves in whatever way they see fit, but i will forever stand with my mouth open in defiance of a climate of silence and cowed masses. the day i experience so much as an ounce of fear or equivocation over the expression of my views is the day i lay down and die.

                    Originally posted by ndex
                    In other words... what about this latest punch in the face of liberty seems alien to the trend of the last 5 years and what in the world makes you think it's going to get better before it gets much, much worse?
                    the primary reason i have to believe that it's going to get worse before it gets better is the fact that despite each and every increase in the authority of governments, citizens remain incredibly silent. i choose to not take that path, since it is the most responsible thing that i can do as a citizen and a member of the human race.

                    as a side note, while i can understand general forum prohibitions against matters of "politics and religion" in posts, i've always understood that this is in the interest of maintaining harmony and polite discourse among the forum community. as such, it has always been expressed to me that the "politics" part of this equasion has to do with left/right type fighting... every private citizen is entitled to his or her own views and sniping at someone else's position on the political spectrum rarely does a community any good.

                    that said, it's a very very very rare person who wants to stand up and express a displeasure with their own freedoms. i've never known of a contingent of forum members who are enamored with the idea of government creep and the erosion of liberties. as such, while threads such as this one may contain politically-relevant content, they do not enter into the realm of left/right debate and therefore aren't really all that divisive. i don't imagine that many people have ever thought of an "i enjoy freedoms" type of post as being something that breaks the rules. am i wrong? are there a lot of big-government / nanny state supporters here whom i am alienating when i raise these sort of questions?

                    [EDIT: i wanted to add a P.S. clarifying that i am not trying to attack you personally or categorize you as a person who is pro-censorship or anti-expression. your posts on the forum are insightful and always relevant... i value you being a member here.]
                    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; September 29, 2005, 21:15.
                    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                    - Trent Reznor

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Don't worry about it - at the risk of straying into the political arena - the UK government can't do anything without involving many consultancy companies, which will then engage in a bout of ruthless infighting while ensuring the project never nears completion and thus the limitless supply of money does not dry up.

                      Ok, maybe a little bit political
                      "Don't call me Mr Average," he said, "I'm at the very top of the bell curve."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by astcell
                        There was talk of a $3 chip that can go on a car so the police can stop the car by sending a signal to it and disabling the fuel pump. I guess bad guys who steal money and kill people would not think twice of disabling the chip, assuming they can afford a nice new shiny car in the first place.
                        This is so dumb, especially considering that you can stall a car at a distance with a HERF gun (think of a spark plug in a microwave; shooting a HERF gun at a car will cause all the spark plugs to fire at once causing the engine to misfire)... why neither cops nor criminals have ever tried this has always confused me, but it is a bit of a technical feat... to have a forward firing one, you'd basically have to put the engine in the rear of the car and create a big reflector around the back of the HERF gun with what would essentially be a Faraday cage...

                        It'd be much easier to put one in the trunk, and if I ever wanted to rob a bank or something, it seems like the perfect getaway... the cop is following you and then all the sudden *zap* their car stalls, all their radios get fried, their computers would reboot, and you might even blow a bunch of fuses in their electrical system (considering how quirky patrol car electrical systems are to begin with)
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
                        [ redacted ]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wasn't a HERF gun used in 2Fast2Furious?

                          Seems better to me than what the swiss were developing a few years back that involved a police cruiser and a forward mounted harpoon gun.
                          -Ridirich

                          "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

                          Commander W.H. Hamilton

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Several of years ago (pre 9-11-01), a lot of federal money was going to development of things like car disabling systems to stop chases, less-than-lethal crowd control devices, and technology to confront and control EDPs (Emotionally-Disturbed Person.)

                            One of the more promising devices was a prototype HERF/HEP "sled". It was mounted under the cruiser radiator grill, rode on what appeared to be skateboard wheels and was powered by Estes-type solid rocket motors. It had two whip electrodes which popped up about 18" when it was launched.

                            The general idea was that a pursuing officer would shoot this toward the target vehicle. The two whip electrodes would contacted the target vehicle's belly, and impluses would kill the ignition system or EFI, and the vehicle would coast to a stop.
                            Thorn
                            "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Keeping off of the Politics/Religion aspect of this for a moment, I'd like to offer a personal observation. Again, this is a *PERSONAL* observation, and should be taken as such.

                              I lived in the UK between 1992 and 1996, having gone to college in England. 1992 was a few (read: four or five) years after the introduction of the first Gatso (short for Gatsonides, its inventor) camera used to catch speeders on the motorways. Everyone grumbled about it, but to no effect; evidently, driving fast was so reprehensible that it made sense to move them onto the subsidiary roads as well.

                              Having been acclimatised to the idea of 'the camera prevents bad things from happening' (no matter how specious an argument that may be), in the early '90s CCTV was deployed in city centres, ostensibly to prevent grannies from being mugged while out shopping. Watching the violent crime rate in Britain steadily rise since then, I'm calling bullshit on both. They existed solely to get the populace used to the idea that being watched would make you safe, while really all it came down to was a method of seeing who goes where.

                              WRT the tracking and braking/fining systems being called for now, I also call bullshit. What nobody has mentioned is that the current Labour government is considering removing fuel tax in favour of 'road pricing'. Depending on where you drive and when, you will be assessed a per-mile (worse once the UK eventually goes fully-metric, which it will) charge to cover the costs of congestion.

                              While this may sound terribly egalitarian on the face of it, a large portion of the country lives outside of the congested areas - actually, most of it. Someone in the middle of nowhere in Scotland is going to be picking up a part of the tab for the broker clogging up the M25 trying to get into the City because he doesn't want to use the train. It's just fucking ridiculous. And don't get me started on the new 'environmentally-friendly' road tax pricing.

                              Now you'll excuse me while I do get into the politics aspect of this.

                              WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Why are you letting this government successively destroy your civil liberities and tax you into oblivion? Not that previous governments haven't done the same, but for fuck's sake - last time (12/04) I was in the UK, petrol was either at or over a quid a litre and people basically expected to be told what to do and how to live. For fuck's sake, we have even worse shit in similar ways in Ireland, but at least we can move around without having every damned move recorded. For the time being, anyway.

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