Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
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Everyone would like to own and drive a brand car.
Whether it be an EV, hybrid or just plain old ICE, having a new car offers many benefits.
You'll get the latest and greatest technology for infotainment, driver aids, efficiency and you'll also look cooler than the losers who are stuck with last year's model. Also, any faults or issues will be corrected underwarranty, at the manufacturer's expense.
However, the way things are going, that old banger from the 1990s may soon become the "must have" choice in cars and it's even possible that they may become very much sought-after, maybe even moreso than brand new vehicles sitting on the showroom floor.
Why is that?
Well it seems that in the USA at least, there's a concerted effort by government to include mandatory "kill switch" technology in new cars.
This "kill switch" tech would effectively give the powers that be the ability to disable a vehicle, for whatever reason.
Right now the premise being used to justify the mandatory inclusion of such tech is (of course) "safety".
Yes, that's right, our politicians very quickly learned (in the wake of the CV19 lockdowns) that whenever they want to introduce some ridiculous theft of freedoms, all they have to do is roll out the "safety" excuse and people will line up to hand those freedoms over without a whimper.
The official reason for a kill-switch mandate is that this switch would be connected to biometric sensors in the vehicle and that would prevent drink-driving. "Think of all the innocent children that this will save" -- if you're against kill-switches then you're against saving children's lives... at least that's the suggestion.
Freedom advocates are claiming that this "kill switch" will also eventually be made available to governments and perhaps even other third parties. They claim that the safety aspect of preventing impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel is just an excuse and that eventually this will give authorities to shut down any vehicle for any reason.
The reality is that, at least in the USA, a lot of vehicles already have after-market kill switches. These are frequently fitted by leasing or finance companies who then have the power to disable a car if payments are not kept up to date.
Even regular "state of the art" modern vehicles can be disabled by the manufacturer through "over the air updates" that could, at least in theory, disable the car's ECU.
The proposed US bill therefore, simply codifies a capability that already exists -- but it sure has rights advocates up in arms.
To be honest, I believe it's only a matter of time before we do see kill-switch tech built into every new vehicle and access to that switch will be available to law enforcement agencies on the promise that it would reduce the number of high-speed chases and resulting injuries/deaths.
Remember, only those who are doing something wrong have anything to fear from this -- or so we're told. Surely police and other agencies would never do anything "unlawful" as a result of access to this tech?
Of course this will simply be part of a whole package where, each time you charge your EV, all the data logged since the last charge will be automatically downloaded and forwarded to enforcement agencies. If you've been speeding, parked too long in a time-restricted area or committed any other infringements the MoT computer will email you notification of your fines within minutes. If you don't pay the fines on time or you have run out of road-user charges credit, that kill-switch will be activated until you settle your account in full.
So, once all modern cars effectively hand over their keys to whichever authorities believe they have a right to hold them, those old bangers from the pre-kill-switch era may well become a very attractive proposition to those who value their freedoms.
Carpe Diem folks!
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