Homeland Security Wants a Nationwide License Plate Tracking System

Good news: Uncle Sam's terrorist-watchin' lawmen would like a database that shows the whereabouts of every car with a license plate that's recently been scanned by a government tag reader. Does that freak you out? Here's better news: They want a private contractor to run it. » 2/19/14 10:32am 2/19/14 10:32am

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

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 4:00pm 9/05/08 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 1:30pm 6/26/08 1:30pm

Six Cities Busted For Traffic Camera Scams

Union City, California; Lubbock, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Springfield, Missouri; Dallas, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee — you're all on notice. We already hate the idea of the omnipresent big brother handing out speeding tickets through the watchful eye of the traffic camera, but when the deck is stacked in the… » 3/27/08 10:45am 3/27/08 10:45am

GPS Devices Tattling on Cheating Employees

Big Brother is watching you, and this time Big Brother is watching you watch reruns of Big Brother at the gym during your shift. GPS tracking devices installed on government vehicles are telling on employees that use official cars for personal business, or use government time to engage in non-work activities &mdash… » 11/15/07 4:00pm 11/15/07 4:00pm

Intelligent Cars Drink Less Gas Than Hybrids!

Some Aussie engineers have found that setting up a network of sensors in the urban driving environment and rigging cars to respond to traffic flows by optimizing speeds will cause an ordinary pure-internal-combustion vehicle to beat the fuel economy of an "unintelligent" gasoline-electric hybrid car over the same… » 5/10/07 4:00pm 5/10/07 4:00pm

Next Up, Skynet: Siemens Teaches Cars to Read!

Never let it be said that the Germans haven't done their part for literacy. Besides providing the world with the works of Goethe, Brecht and Werner von Braun, Deutschland also gave rise to industrial conglomerate Siemens, who've developed a system that reads speed limit signs and can adjust a vehicle's speed downward… » 3/06/07 7:30pm 3/06/07 7:30pm

Oregon Lawmakers Try to Put Tweeny in the Corner

Goddammit. We know there are idiots in this country who have no business reproducing. Sadly, this has always been the case. And as eugenics run counter to our antifascist tendencies, all we can do is use our bully pulpette to grouse about a bill in Oregon that lawmakers are attempting to pass, mandating that children… » 2/22/07 5:00pm 2/22/07 5:00pm

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

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 9:30pm 1/10/07 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 11:15pm 12/04/06 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 4:45pm 11/15/06 4:45pm

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

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 7:57am 8/23/06 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 5:00pm 8/14/06 5:00pm

Big Brother Says Slow Down: Traffic Control By Satellite; Myth or…

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 9:17am 8/10/06 9:17am

Looooooooooooord! St. Albans Sets Up Crook Catchin' Road Cams

And we thought This is Hertfordshire was un-hip. Some wily Stooges fan at the copy desk came up with the headline, "Police TV eye on cars" hoping to spin it past his superiors and onto the World Wide Web for like likes of us to geek out over. According to the article, the town of St. Albans has set up cameras that… » 3/22/06 2:47pm 3/22/06 2:47pm