A new US Infrastructure law has made the installation of backdoor kill switch in vehicles mandatory by the year 2026. For automobiles constructed after 2026, the decision about whether or not a vehicle can be operated will be made by an algorithm on which the car’s proprietor or driver has no understanding or influence.
A little-noticed “safety” provision which could very well comes into effect in five years is embedded deep within the huge infrastructure legislation recently approved by President Joe Biden, reports the Daily Caller. The bill, which was sold to Congress as a non-intrusive way to help combat intoxicated driving, will require automakers to install a “vehicle kill switch” across every vehicle.
This proposal is dangerously lacking on information, as has been customary for legislative demands imposed by Congress. What we do realize would be that the “safety” equipment must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”
This obligatory action ought to light red flares in everyone’s eyes.
To begin with, the word “passively” implies that the technology will be turned on at all times and continue to observe the automobile. Second, the device needs be able to communicate with the vehicle’s operating controls in order to deactivate the vehicle either beforehand or throughout driving if intoxication is identified. Third, it would be an “open” network, or at the very minimum one with a backdoor, which means that authorized (or unauthorized) third parties will be able to retrieve the system’s data remotely at any moment.
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This is really a privacy catastrophe in the creation, as well as the reality that the clause passed Congress demonstrates — once again — how very poorly Congress members cares about their people’ privacy.
The absence of complete control over one’s car raises a slew of major safety concerns, concerns that should have been clear to Congress members before they approved on the bill.
What if, instead of being intoxicated, a motorist is drowsy, and the automobile compels itself to the roadside well before driver could really find a safe location to pull over and rest? Drivers will be forced into unsafe circumstances without their permission or control because there are no actual means to dispute or stop the automobile from becoming disabled.
For automobiles constructed after 2026, the decision about whether or not a vehicle can be operated will be made by an algorithm on which the car’s proprietor or driver has no understanding or influence.
If that isn’t enough to make you concerned, this regulation also has major legal implications. Numerous different vehicle-related policing techniques used by the Nanny State, including such traffic cameras and license plate readers, have long been flawed with constitutional issues, particularly with the right to not self-incriminate under the Fifth Amendment and the right to confront one’s accuser under the Sixth Amendment.
With these technological advances, the very same constitutional difficulties persist, but there’s much more ambiguity about what Congress implies by “impaired driving.” Is it allowed to be drunk, or is it possible to be under the influence but still “impaired” to some degree? Would the system invariably call the cops in attempt to make that decision? These are issues which should have been acknowledged publicly and extensively throughout the legislative procedure, rather than being left to later, behind-closed-door negotiations between interested parties other than individual car buyers, such as manufacturers, regulators, insurance companies, and law enforcement.
Ironically, or maybe deliberately, there is no mention of who would have accessibility to the information acquired and retained by the system in the Act. Is it possible for cops to use it and gain access to the data without the need for a warrant? What about insurance firms, who want to know how often their customers drive after consuming alcohol, even if they were within the legal limit? A treasure mine of data is a tempting reward for a variety of governmental and commercial groups (including hackers), none of whom have our best interests in mind.
Incorporating what equates to a backdoor government “kill switch” to automobiles is not just an infringement of our constitutional rights, but also an insult to what is — or used to be — an important part of our national identity. The individual liberty of the open road that personal vehicle possession actually introduced to the American Dream will be but just another hazy recollection of a period no longer to be enjoyed by future generations unless this regulatory mandate is promptly eliminated or rendered impotent by way of an appropriations rider prohibiting its integration.