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A Kill Switch For Your Car?
Apparently, the 2,700 page infrastructure bill signed into law last November also contains language that requires cars to have a "kill switch" that can be activated by third parties.
One of the most concerning things we've heard so far is the revelation that this "infrastructure" bill includes a measure mandating vehicle backdoor kill-switches in every car by 2026. The clause is intended to increase vehicle safety by "passively monitoring the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired," and if that sentence doesn't make your hair stand on end, you're not thinking about the implications.
Let us spell it out for you: by 2026, vehicles sold in the US will be required to automatically and silently record various metrics of driver performance, and then make a decision, absent any human oversight, whether the owner will be allowed to use their own vehicle. Even worse, the measure goes on to require that the system be "open" to remote access by "authorized" third parties at any time.
SF writer Keith Laumer had a similar idea in his 1965 novel A Plague of Demons:
I nudged the car into motion, steering between the two wide-shouldered, lean-hipped trouble boys. One whipped out a three-inch black disc - a police control-override. A red light blinked on the dash; the car faltered as the external command came to brake.
(Read more about Laumer's police control-override)
Modern day sf readers remember the Cop Block from Greg Bear's excellent 2007 novel Quantico:
All cars and trucks in the U.S. were now required to have Cop Block. A patrol car could radio a coded signal that slowed and then shut down the engine. Workarounds were illegal and the fines were expensive, plus real jail time...
In an exclusive 2007 interview with Technovelgy, Greg Bear said this about Cop Block:
"The society I'm speculating on ten years from now has gone through a lot of trauma and it really is giving up some of its freedoms for more efficient law enforcement. I don't know if this is really something we can see being allowed but it's certainly something that is doable. You see the car, and you see the serial number on the car, and the cop can scan the serial number and they can shut down your engine."
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