Monday, 19 May 2014

Big Brother spy boxes to be fitted to all new cars from 2015

An EU directive will require all new cars produced from October next year to be fitted with a spy box.

Black boxes called telematics devices will be fitted to cars that will track drivers and report their driving habits back to insurance companies who will set premiums based on the results. People without such black boxes will pay higher insurance premiums or may be refused insurance altogether.

The EU is introducing these tracking devices under the guise of safety - emergency services will be able to locate vehicles if there is an accident. This is one of the most worrying aspects of these spy boxes because whilst it is certainly useful for the emergency services to be able to tell where a crashed vehicle is, it means that anyone with access to your spy box can find out where you are at any time. Access to the boxes will of course be limited at first to reassure motorists that they aren't being tracked by all and sundry but tracking will become routine as those controls are weakened once motorists accept them as an unavoidable part of driving.

The mandatory use of spy boxes poses a massive privacy and security risk. If the British government can sell the most intimate details of our physical and mental health to private companies then they certainly won't have any qualms about selling access to our location and driving data to private companies. Our internet use is tracked, our phone use is tracked, we are tracked by CCTV wherever we go, we are tracked on public transport, now private car journeys are going to be tracked.

There will be those who say if you nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear but that is a short-sighted view. You may trust those in power now to use this ability to track your every move benignly (or at least confine the abuses of such power to a minimum so you don't have to worry about it) but how do you know you can trust the next lot that get into power? The term "Big Brother" gets banded about so often its meaning has been diminished but in this case it really is like something out of a George Orwell novel.