Driving Dystopia: License Plate Readers Are Becoming Increasingly Common

Policing a population is expensive. Law enforcement departments around the globe have long sought a way to tamp down costs or, more often, find better forms of supplemental revenue. Unfortunately, sending the SWAT team on a raid or hiring additional officers to patrol the highway for speeders costs money. But the price of surveillance technology continues to go down, encouraging agencies to tap into their rather robust capabilities — potentially at our expense.

China, the world leader in mass government surveillance, already has the ability to use its vast network of cameras to take over all manner of on-the-street policing. Electronic eyes are everywhere, often networked to facial recognition or plate identification technologies that enable authorities to mail you a ticket for speeding, jaywalking, or whatever else the patrolman failed to see you do in person. While some of the penalties stop at being publicly shamed via a national database or having your social credit score dropped (potentially barring you from some goods and services), these systems have also increased the number of finable offenses that make departments money.

While similar systems have been available in the United States, it seems the country’s penchant for liberty has drastically slowed their implementation. Yet it’s still happening, and there’s reason to suggest items like license plate readers and facial recognition software will soon become standard equipment for many (if not most) North American police departments.

Read more
Australia Introduces Phone Detection Cameras for Roads

Australia put up the first phone-detecting cameras in New South Wales over the weekend. The move is part of a broader plan to reduce roadway fatalities by 30 percent by 2021 — especially as new technologies continue to exacerbate the issue of distracted driving. “It’s a system to change the culture,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy told Australian media las week.

There’s nothing incredibly new about the cameras themselves. But they’re networked to an artificial intelligence that determines whether or not someone behind the wheel is using their phone. Suspect images are then forwarded to authorized personnel to be verified as truly criminal.

Read more
Automakers Helping China Spy on Drivers: Report

As concerns grow about the Chinese government’s technology-driven “social credit” system of controlling its citizens, the Associated Press reports that the country, through regulations for electric vehicles, is requiring global automakers to supply telemetric data from their vehicles that could help the one-party state spy on its people.

American, German, and Japanese automakers, including General Motors, Ford, Tesla, Daimler, BMW, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, are among 200 manufacturers whose products must transmit location information and dozens of other pieces of driving data in real time that ultimately end up in monitoring centers that can report that data to the Chinese government.

Read more
  • El scotto Most of us have radio and phone controls on our steering wheels. I have no problems pressing a button and speaking.
  • MaintenanceCosts This could either be the greatest car you'll ever buy or an exasperating money pit, and you have no way whatsoever to know before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Arthur Dailey In Ontario 'distracted driving rules apply' . In Ontario while driving or stopped in traffic including at a red light or a stop sign it is illegal to i) use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency, ii) use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console iii) view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video program or a GPS device. In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law. – Government of Ontario website.Other examples of distracted driving may also include: personal grooming, eating or drinking, tending to children or pets. From Campisi LLP.
  • Theflyersfan $25,000 for an out of warranty VW Golf wagon. Make peace with the deity of your choice and do it soon because the world is set to come to an end any minute now.Being hauled on a flatbed doesn't rack up any miles so I guess that explains the 29,000 mile number. But at least it's a stick shift so would someone brave in the greater Columbus area take a chance? Just keep dry towels in the car to mop up all of the water that is bound to make an entrance sometime soon and wreck the interior. And get a AAA membership.
  • Slap I've got a red 2019 Alltrack S manual. Chose the S so I wouldn't have to deal with the potential leaks from the panoramic sunroof in the SE and SEL. So far it's been a great car - handles well and carries all of my stuff.