Under new plans being proposed by the EU, in less than a decade police could have the power to remotely shut down any vehicle from a central control room. This has raised concerns with many groups, with some suggesting it could potentially cause more accidents than it will prevent. Others are saying it is an attack on civil liberties, whilst a large percentage of the population are all for it if they can activate it when they leave their car, much like giving the police a direct line to your alarm system.
We can see the appeal of a device that could help the police prevent high speed chases, but is the proposal a step too close to the big brother state? 47% of people surveyed by an insurance comparison site think it is. The same survey also revealed that 46% of the general public believe the new power has the potential to be abused by the police. Although I’m sure they will say it’s completely safe, any system like this must be susceptible to attack from hackers, aren’t we potentially giving someone the ability to shut down all UK vehicles? This may sound a little extreme, but past history tells us our Government haven’t got the best track record with creating software.
We are currently seeing a high rate of development in automotive technology, with many smart devices due to hit the market next year.
Vehicle manufacturers are businesses above all else, and the real question should be, does this make you more likely to purchase a car, or will it make you avoid it? The answer to this question will tell you whether it will reduce their profits, which ultimately tells you whether they would persist with the device.
If given the go ahead, we would expect to see it come in as a no cost optional extra initially, marketed as a security device, as we don’t think any manufacturer would be brave enough to make it standard on a complete model range, because of the possible negative backlash in sales figure. The only alternative would be for all manufacturers to bring it in as standard simultaneously, giving people no other option when purchasing a new car.
Whether or not it becomes a reality, it all just feels a bit too like George Orwell’s dystopian 1984.
Let us know what you think of the proposed changes in the comments below.