The European Union is secretly developing technology that would be fitted to all new cars that would enable police to remotely stop any vehicle they want just by pressing a button, according to a report from The Telegraph. Either this is a huge advance in policing or a massive invasion of privacy. Or potentially both.
It's not like every officer would be empowered to stop your car at any moment, but rather it would be one guy sitting in a central control room:
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.
The technology is expected to be developed within six years, though to be perfectly honest I'm a bit skeptical that it's not available now. All it would really take would be a simple signal from something like a cell phone tower sent to a car's properly set-up computer. Nothing really more than that.
On the one hand, this could be a great tool for ending high-speed chases, which despite making for some good TV are incredibly dangerous. Right now most police options focus on blowing out the tires, and this technology could have been used to avoid a situation that could potentially cause the loss of life, such as the incident this past October which saw a car chase in Washington, DC.
On the other hand, holy crap. Installing kill-switches in every single car seems like a massive overreach and invasion of privacy for such a statistically unlikely event. And planning for such scenarios in secret makes this all look even more nefarious.
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