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READ HERE: http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/02042009/36/bl ... ser-0.html

'Black box' for cars getting closer

A new system under development will take satellite navigation to the next level, because it can pinpoint the position of a car to within one yard. However, the technology is already causing controversy because it will also allow authorities to 'track' a car's movements and its speed, bringing the possibility of automatic speeding fines.

The £36m EU project is partly funded by the UK Government. The tracking system's development is also backed by a number of different manufacturers, including beleaguered US maker GM, because the technology will, it's claimed, reduce accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. It will also make proposed 'pay as you drive' schemes feasible.

It works by emitting a pulse every half a second which is picked up by satellites and reveals the car's speed and location. Cars fitted with the device can also 'talk' to each other, and to road signs, so that congestion can be avoided, and even traffic lights changed from red to green.

The Department for Transport says it has no plans to enforce makers to use the technology, but said it will need widespread take up to be an effective traffic congestion remedy. Still, Simon Davies of watchdog Privacy International said: 'if you correlate car tracking data with mobile phone data, which can also track people, there is the potential for an almost infallible surveillance system.'

Mark Nichol

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Quite apart from the 'big brother' aspects, there is the other significant and disturbing consideration that the suggested system is utterly dependent on efficient IT to handle the torrent of 'here I am' messaging - and thus far the track record of government with IT falls somewhere between 'incompetent morons' and 'scum who as well as being incompetent morons take a bung to put IT contracts to their mates who provide useless and overpriced failures anyway'. Let's face it - if the 'fly by wire' systems in commercial aircraft were developed under the auspices of UK government IT, nobody in their right minds would board an airliner!

I think the usual metaphors on the subject include elements such as '..woodpeckers picnic in Sherwood Forest...', '...p155 up in a brewery..' and variations on the theme of '...chocolate fireguard....'

I can see it now... "computer says you were passing Cleethorpes at 11:03 and also passing Aberdeen at 11:04. Either the system has a bug/undocumented feature or you were driving your Reliant Robin at mach 8. Hmmm. OK, here is your speeding ticket for driving at mach 8 ..."

Wonder how and when we slipped from employing these clown politicians, police, judges etc for whom we pay over to having to justify our existence and actions to them.

Ah well, soon be an election. The straight monster raving loony ticket for me.....


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  • 1 month later...

You'd be surprised what they can track, we can track mobile phones at work with real time and historic data (we dont but it is esily done). We use the software to remote support devices, the tracking is another part that we do not pay for but have seen it working.

Did you know TomTom units with the High Definition traffic info built in are powered by Vodafone, they track vodafone mobile users signals and if signals slow down on a road for a number of users they know there must be traffic. There was also a documentary recently where they tracked bluetooth signals across the UK. This is different to the radio versions of TomTom which use RMC. ref: http://blogs.ft.com/techblog/2007/11/to ... -vodahtml/

All very interesting but does make you wonder, especially as everyone carries around a portable video and bug with them (aka mobile phone). It doesnt take very much to tap into a phone and take pictures of its location or dial out to a number so you can listen in!!

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