The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
USA- The Brandon administration just loves control. Such is the case under a new law which mandates that any new vehicle sold in the US after 2026 must be equipped with electronic “kill switches.”
The excuse given is that they would be used to prevent drunks from operating vehicles, but given the power-hungry nature of the current administration, as well as a number of state governors, the possibility for abuse is clearly something which bears watching.
The thing about anything electronic such as this is the fact they could be misused either by the government for something like…say…government-mandated lockdowns during a national “health emergency.” Conversely, there is also the possibility that actors with nefarious intentions, such as computer hackers, could also seize control of one’s vehicle.
The American Thinker notes that the law, as so many of these measures are, was buried deep inside the Brandon administration’s $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill passed last year.
The measure would ostensibly allow law enforcement officials…or maybe public health bureaucrats such as St. Anthony of Fauci…to shut of someone’s car remotely, while also tracking the car’s location, metrics or possibly even the passenger load of the vehicle.
As mentioned above, the law was passed for the purposes of cutting down on drunk driving, however, might also be used to prevent high-speed chases.
Any such system would require vehicles to be connected to wireless networks, which isn’t much of a stretch since a majority of new cars (and virtually all electric vehicles) come standard with Wi-Fi capability. General Motors was one of the leading car manufacturers to include in-car internet connectivity over ten years ago through its OnStar system.
There are a number of problems with such a system being accessible by the federal (or state) government(s), not the least of which is privacy concerns and that little old Fourth Amendment. Not that the Brandon administration concerns itself with most of the Bill of Rights to begin with, such as the First and Second Amendments. Ah hell, most of the Constitution is a bitter inconvenience to the current regime.
Last November, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) warned that such devices are a “privacy disaster in the making,” while further warning the law is “disturbingly short on details.” Law Enforcement Today published a piece on the kill switches last year, which is included below.
Barr added: “What we do know is that the ‘safety’ device must ‘passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.’ Everything about this mandatory measure should set off red flares.”
Such a law has possible chilling consequences, if taken to an absurd level, which is not beyond the realm of possibility with this federal government. What is to say the federal government couldn’t take control of all manner of modern-day conveniences? What is to say that they couldn’t take over home appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and air conditioners? What about hour HVAC systems?
Why do you think the bureaucracy is pushing things such as the “smart grid?” Once again, that would allow the federal government to control what Americans set their thermostats at, how many hours per day we could run our air conditioning.
The possibilities are truly chilling…and dystopian.
For our previous piece on these automotive kill switches we invite you to:
The following article contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author.
WASHINGTON, DC- Nobody can argue that drunk drivers are a scourge upon society, one that needs to be removed from the roadways by pretty much any means possible.
However the latest proposal by the Biden administration raises some serious questions, The New American reports.
Snuck inside the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill—if you can keep track of which bill is which—is a proposal to have a lockout device to be installed in all new cars.
In the famous words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaking of Obamacare in 2010, “you have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” While that proposal was reported in some quarters, it was largely buried.
From a police officer’s perspective, having the ability to shut down another driver’s car—either operated by a drunk driver, or a stolen vehicle—could prove to be advantageous. The elimination of dangerous police pursuits is a goal that all police officers would embrace, in order to reduce danger to the public as well as officers themselves.
However, remember the famous saying—a government big enough to give you anything you want is also big enough to take everything away. As we have seen over the past twenty years with the PATRIOT Act, a piece of legislation that was passed (allegedly) with the best of intentions, in this case to “prevent terrorism” can also be used to spy on Americans.
Now the Act is being proposed as a cudgel against parents who are concerned about what their children are being taught in school, or who are concerned with children being muzzled with masks.
Moreover, even if you actually trust the same government that has botched things such as the Afghanistan withdrawal and the virus response, we have also seen the power possessed by big tech.
Then again, there is also the issue of hackers. The possibility that such technology could be misused by bad actors, including the government, looms over such a proposal.
According to Steven Symes of Motorious last week:
According to an article written by former U.S. Representative Bob Barr, hidden away in the recently passed infrastructure bill…is a measure to install vehicle kill switches into every new car, truck, and SUV sold in this country. The regulation likely won’t be enforced for five years, so maybe there’s time to do something about this.
As we’ve seen both in this country and others recently, what constitutes “law-abiding” can change drastically overnight. For example, in September, a car was pulled over in New Zealand and the occupants arrested when police discovered the trunk was full of Kentucky Fried Chicken meals.
They were smuggling the fast foot do customers in locked-down Auckland, against quarantine measures. Yet not too long before, delivering restaurant orders to people was considered a reputable, legal activity.
It gets even better: Barr points out that the bill, which has been signed into law by President Biden, states that the kill switch, which is referred to as a safety device, must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether the driver may be impaired.”
In other words, Big Brother will constantly be monitoring how you drive. If you do something the system has been programmed to recognize as driver impairment, your car could just shut off, which could be incredibly dangerous.
There is the possibility the kill switch program might measure your driving was impaired, then when you try to start the car up again the engine won’t fire up.
One problem identified by Barr is the fact that the proposed kill switch is “an ‘open’ system, or at least one with a back door, meaning authorized (or unauthorized) third parties can remotely access the system’s data at any time.”
That of course begs the question; who exactly will have access to your car’s kill switch? Hackers? Police? Biden’s Department of Justice? Fourth amendment, anyone? Symes wonders if a warrant would be required in order to “search” your car’s system and shut it down.
There are also a number of concerns such technology raises. One raised by The New American:
“For example, what if a driver is not drunk, but sleepy, and the car forces itself to the side of the road before the driver can find a safe place to pull over and rest?” Barr queried.
“Considering that there are no realistic mechanisms to immediately challenge or stop the car from being disable, drivers will be forced into dangerous situations without their consent or control.”
Barr noted that for vehicles built after 2026, drivers will no longer have the sole choice as to whether or not a car may be driven, and instead that decision will be, at least in part, be put “in the hands of algorithm over which the car’s owner or driver have neither knowledge nor control,” Barr added.
Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it is also not foolproof. As the author noted, consider the number of accidents we have seen involving self-driving cars.
The author noted something as simple as a self-checkout at a supermarket, where the machine had what was described as a “bran cramp.”
While such technology clearly presents some advantages as mentioned, parking drunk drivers and eliminating police pursuits, the article raises some other issues.
How about driving along a country road in say, Colorado on a January night. Then, either due to a computer malfunction, or perhaps you’re tired and swerve a bit, the kill switch engages, the engine shuts down and due to the technology, you’re unable to restart the car.
Now, stuck in sub-zero temperatures with the inability to start your car, even if you may be able to use your cellphone for service, how long will it take police to arrive? What if you don’t have cell service? It’s certainly not guaranteed throughout the entire US.
What about this scenario? A woman is trying to flee from a stalker or maybe a domestic abuser. As she drives to escape the maniac, the system deems her operation as erratic, and shuts the car down. At “best,” this woman may only be beaten up…at worst, she’ll be killed.
Let’s move to another scenario—hackers gain control of your vehicle and decide to disable your engine to carjack you, or conduct an armed robbery. The possibilities are endless. Remember, technology giveth, technology taketh away.
The solution of course would be to carry your constitutionally protected firearm, but as the article noted, the same busybodies who want to put a kill switch in your car are also the same ones who want to take away your Second Amendment rights.
Remember, whenever someone—most of all the federal government—tells you they’re doing something for your own good, it usually means exactly the opposite—think masks, lockdowns, and mandated jabs.
Perhaps the thought behind the interlock device is noble, but it is much too easy to abuse (especially given the current tyrants running the government) and hackers are simply pretty darn advanced. Bad idea all the way around.
We initially wrote about the alcohol detectors back in November. In case you missed it, here’s that piece:
The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
BOSTON, MA- Let’s face it…nobody likes a drunk driver, least of all those of us in law enforcement.
However a new law signed by Joe Biden seems to take prevention to a rather preposterous level. That law will require that alcohol detection systems be included in all newly manufactured vehicles, however the new equipment likely will not be included until 2026.
It’s rather ironic that as state after state legalizes recreational marijuana, which also has a significant effect on one’s cognitive abilities and fine motor skills, lawmakers now find themselves concerned with an interlock system tied only into detection of alcohol.
No such plans are apparently proposed for people impaired by marijuana.
Cars are now apparently also “infrastructure” as the new measure was included as part of the over $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill signed into law by Biden this week.
The legislation came about as statistics have shown that over 10,000 people are killed every year in the U.S. by drunk drivers, CBS-4 WBZ in Boston reported. The law was pushed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) along with a woman named Sarah Carmichael, who was seriously injured in a crash involving a drunk driver in 2008 in Framingham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
Carmichael was hit by a drunk driver, which left her in a medically -induced coma for over a week.
“I was in a medically induced coma for about 10 days,” she said. “C1 and C2 vertebrae in my neck were fractured as well as the base of my skull, both sides of my collarbone, 11 of my ribs, my pelvis was shattered,” she told WBZ.
“Doctors prepared my family that I was not going to live,” Carmichael said, noting that her recovery took years.
“With my pelvis being shattered I had metal bars to stabilize it, had to use a walker to get around. I had to learn how to walk again, basically how to do everything from sitting up in bed on my own to brushing my teeth,” she said.
While on its face the proposed interlock, which still allows someone to start the car but not move it does not seem important. However it is ripe for abuse from an overzealous government. It also presents some possible public safety issues of its own.
For example, let’s say, for example that a woman is at a bar and maybe has a couple glasses of wine. While she may be “legally” over the limit of .08% BAC, she may be more than capable of driving. What if she is followed by a stalker out of a bar and gets in her car to escape.
Now clearly if she’s over the limit technically she shouldn’t be driving, however perhaps she is more than capable of doing so. Now she is put in the position of being unable to escape from her attacker. One can easily imagine such a scenario. Once again, the law of unintended consequences.
As far as an overzealous government, one could also imagine a scenario where such a system could be misused by law enforcement, in this case let’s think beyond municipal or state law enforcement.
As we have recently seen, the federal government is not beyond using its scope and power to target people, so who is to say it couldn’t likewise use a system such as this to perhaps target political enemies or others?
Tell us it’s not likely and we’ll tell you it also wasn’t likely that the attorney general would use the DOJ to target school parents. Simply put, the federal government can no longer be trusted.
Who is to say such a system couldn’t be utilized or tweaked down the road to somehow alert law enforcement authorities that someone over the limit is attempting to drive away, locking the doors and disabling the ability of the operator to shut down the engine.
Sitting behind the wheel of a running car is considered operation in a number of states. Once again, painting the worst case scenario of an over-reaching government.
Clearly such would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment, however given the direction our courts have been headed, does anyone honestly believe this would be a slam-dunk Fourth Amendment case?
Then there is another issue…what if a passenger is drunk but the driver is not?
According to the proposed system called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), it uses infrared sensors mounted on the dashboard and door that register a driver’s breath with touch sensors that also capture blood alcohol levels in the skin. The manufacturer—KEA Technologies in Marlboro, Massachusetts—says that particular system gets results in just a few seconds.
According to Bud Zaouk, President and CEO of KEA, he said he heads up a team of engineers and scientists who are evaluating the technology while insisting it is non-invasive in nature.
“You get in the vehicle, the sensor will detect if you have alcohol and how much you have alcohol,” Zaouk said. “It will be something that tells you that you are above the legal limit in your state. You can start the vehicle but not allow you to move the car.”
A representative of Boston’s MADD chapter, MaryKate DePamphilis claims the system will make roads safer.
“Despite the pandemic we are seeing an uptick in fatality crashes,” she said, while predicting for example Massachusetts will realize a 9% increase in deaths, or 130 dead for last year.
As noted above, some critics are concerned the data could raise privacy concerns, which Zaouk dismisses.
“Obviously, this is not the cop on board,” he said. “This is not something that is going to be monitoring you and recording what you are doing. It’s just there to really prevent you from making the wrong decision.”
That may be true now, but given the current administration and status of the federal surveillance state, it is easy to see how such a system can be abused.
For Carmichael however the new technology and accompanying legislation is overdue.
“It is absolutely time that drinking and driving stops. So there will be no more victims like myself and no other family will have to suffer like my family did,” she said.
CBS 4 reported that the new technology will not be available for several years, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration having to choose the system (after they get their palms greased no doubt) and then develop safety standards for its implementation. Auto manufacturers will then have three years to get the systems up and rolling which means the technology won’t be available for several years.
It is unknown how much it will cost new car buyers for the privilege of paying for the latest version of Big Brother.
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