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British Police Expand License Plate Surveillance, Will Store All Trips For Five Years

The surveillance state of Britain is becoming more and more unbelievable as The Guardian »9/15/08 2:30pm9/15/08 2:30pm is reporting a number-plate recognition system will now be tied to a massive database allowing the movements of all vehicles to be tracked and stored for up to five years.The system works by using government and privately-owned…

British Police Using High-Tech Helicopters To Catch Speeders, Yell At Them

In an effort to drive both taxpayer groups and paranoid Libertarians nuts at the same time, the Essex police are using a $1,750-an-hour helicopter equipped with some fairly high-tech gear to trap speeders in key areas. The helicopter uses plate recognition software that can recognize a plate and locate the address… »9/05/08 4:00pm9/05/08 4:00pm

Car Insurance Companies Have Always Been At War With High Prices

A few of the big insurance companies (Progressive, we're looking at you) have been experimenting with high-tech on-board devices to monitor their customer's driving habits for a few years now. But telematics have finally entered the picture, allowing on-the-fly uploading of driver information, vs the previous systems… »6/26/08 1:30pm6/26/08 1:30pm

Motoring, What's Your Price for Fleeting Fame? Interactive Mini Billboards

When we were in San Francisco over the New Year, we noticed a Mini billboard on 80 eastbound just before the bridge with a digital readout that displayed various slogans. It turns out that the Anglo-Bavarian small-car brand has bigger plans afoot for said signs, which are currently up in Chicago, New York, Miami and… »1/10/07 9:30pm1/10/07 9:30pm

Gah! Nanny-State Alert in California: What Else is New?

Oh crap. Now they want to ban smoking in cars carrying kids in California. And smoking in state parks. Not that one should smoke in an enclosed space around children, but please, California, we have enough laws. Can't we do something productive with our legislative time? This is just getting silly. »12/04/06 11:15pm12/04/06 11:15pm

Our Big Brother Can Beat Up Your Big Brother, Eh? RFID vs. Plate Readers

A Canadian company is touting its RFID solution to vehicle tracking as superior to plate-reading cameras. Instead of a passel of plate-reading cameras, they're suggesting a network of sensors throughout Southern BC, allowing authorities to track cars in real time with GPS coordinates. Some call it smart. We think… »11/15/06 4:45pm11/15/06 4:45pm

Black Box Bogey: NHTSA Says Carmakers Must Tell Buyers They're Being Watched

The Feds have spoken: No exposure without disclosure. This week, the NHTSA gave automakers a green light to put black-box data recorders aboard new vehicles, but from 2011 onward they must inform car buyers if a model carries such a box. (Currently, 60% of new cars have them.) That'll give regulators and… »8/23/06 7:57am8/23/06 7:57am

California Mulls Smoking-In-Cars-With-Children Ban

We remember being young and riding in our friends' parents GMC Safari with cigarette smoke choking us in the backseat. We hated it. We remember staying at a youth hostel in Nuremburg — watching the European soccer championship ten years ago — and while we were puffing on our own roll-me-own, our friend's secondhand… »8/14/06 5:00pm8/14/06 5:00pm

Big Brother Says Slow Down: Traffic Control By Satellite; Myth or Coming Soon to the UK?

We've been following the UK's march toward state-controlled motoring with empathetic semi-amusement. With every new municipal proposal to employ technology for the sake of imposing iron will over the motoring public, we're ever more grateful even for the US's anti-driver traffic laws (in urban areas, at least) — the… »8/10/06 9:17am8/10/06 9:17am