Technology is a great servant, but can be a fearsome master. If you’re a criminal operating in Europe, or simply a global citizen concerned with the trend of increasing government power and authority, take note. Britain’s AutoExpress is reporting that a report leaked from the little-known European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) shows that plans are in the works to implement a universal remote vehicle disabling system that could be installed on all new cars as soon as 2020. The report was exposed by Statewatch, a European civil liberties watchdog organization.
Other surveillance and law enforcement technologies discussed in the report include improved license plate recognition and intelligence sharing between police departments in Europe. Such a system is not totally unprecedented, as General Motors built in remote vehicle slowdown capability into OnStar-equipped vehicles built after 2009 with eighth-generation software. In GM’s description of the OnStar capability, law enforcement officials, or vehicle owners have to request the feature be activated through OnStar operators, and police do not have direct capability to slow vehicles down unilaterally.
The technology obviously exists to implement such as system in the U.S. as well, but a strong and vocal community of civil liberty watchdogs would likely challenge such a sweeping move by law enforcement in the courts. What do you think? Could the U.S. soon follow the lead of Europe?