Heebie Jeebies

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There is a downside to getting these brand-new cars to test drive all the time. I know what’s coming before you do. A hint, the leading edge. The camel’s nose under the tent. It’s just a whiff, sometimes.safety1

But the aroma is unmistakable.

The smell of Uncle. His filthy presence, spoiling all the fun.

It makes me toss and turn; makes it hard to enjoy the cars. Here’s an example:

For about the past year, I’ve noticed that – irrespective of make or model – new cars with factory installed GPS have this creepy little icon on the LCD display screen that reminds you (oh-so-helpfully) of the speed limit on whatever road you happen to be driving on at that particular moment. It’s white with black letters – just like the real (physical) signs. And it updates in real time, as you drive.

Think about that.

What do you suppose it portends?

I’ve long suspected that it’s like Lego. This – a helpful notification about the speed limit – is the first piece. A building block. Onto which the next block will be placed.

Last week, I got to see the next block.safety2

A brand-new (and all-new) 2014 Mazda3 sedan arrived for me to test drive. All the latest bells and whistles. Including an updated take on the oh-so-helpful speed limit “sign.” It now turns angry red in real time whenever and wherever you exceed the speed limit.

It shifts back to black on white once you reduce your speed to within legal parameters.

Now, kiddies, what do you suppose the next piece of electronic Lego will be?

To recap:

Most new cars have GPS, which makes it feasible for the car to “know” at any given moment where it is, where it’s headed – and where it’s been. As well as how fast it’s going. Or gone. The data can be – is – recorded.

It can also be transmitted.

GPS technology is “send and receive.” In order for the car to know its position (and speed) at any given moment, it must be able to communicate with GPS satellites in real time. This communication is not a one-way street. Many factory GPS systems have “concierge” or “emergency” services that are explicitly two-way. Lesser known – but working on the same principle – many new cars (like the 2014 BMW 3 I have this week) can send – and receive – service updates and such like. Wi-fi Internet/e-mail access is becoming a not-uncommon in-car feature.

Cars so equipped “know” exactly what the speed limit is on any given road, at any given moment – just as they know the name/number of the road itself. They also know when you’re “speeding” – as Mazda’s helpful little helper helpfully lets you know. I have no doubt they also know exactly how much you’re “speeding,” too. This is not – yet – displayed.

But bet your bippie it is recorded.

All new cars – by law – are being fitted with Event Data Recorders (EDRs) or “black boxes” that record this data – and many others things besides.

The ’15 Corvette will – reportedly – take video of your driving. And store it. See here.

Here is an interesting preview of what’s in store for the rest of us – not just Corvette drivers.

Can you smell it yet?

The ’14 Mazda3, like an ever-expanding roll call of new cars, also offers pre-emptive braking. Mazda calls it something else, of course (“Smart City Brake Support,” to be precise. Yack). But that’s what it does. Pre-emptively brakes. Check Food Lovers Specials and Game Specials. The car decides it’s time to slow – or even stop – and does so. You are second banana. This usurper technology is integral – essential – for the practical implementation of the driver-free (Google calls it driverless, but that’s a misnomer) car. The car has a driver.

It’s just not you.Safety last

The premise underlying all of this is: You are (pick one) inept, reckless, addled – and cannot be trusted to drive the car. The computer will drive it for you. More accurately, the people who program the computer will drive “your” (ahem) car for you. It’s not safe for you to drive the car.  This is the sickly song of our age:

Saaaaaaaafety, saaaafety – uber alles!

To get back to the speed limit helper thing. Using GPS, the car knows when you’re “speeding” – every single time you “speed.” This is easily done by comparing your velocity at any given moment with the posted limit on that road, which info the car downloads continuously via the GPS. The data about your “speeding” can be recorded – and transmitted.

Add a dash of insurance mafia lust to rifle your pockets – and your legal inability to tell them to piss off. You cannot – by law – say “no” to insurance. You must buy it. And they will tell you how much you’ll pay.

The cherry on top: The government’s increasingly demented but ever-more-turgid insistence that it must know about – and control – literally everything. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments are as inoperative as Hugh Heffner’s penis. They are impotent relics of a sepia-tinted age, receding rapidly in the rearview.irs

And what’s ahead?

Real-time dunning for every single instance of “speeding.” Perhaps by the insurance mafia – perhaps by the government. From our point of view, it amounts to the same thing.

Driving is about to become a bunch more expensive – and whole lot less fun. More than that can be seen on the regular Walmart Ad content.

They could of course also make “speeding” impossible – by programming the car to be incapable of going faster than whatever the speed limit happens to be on any given road at any given moment. That would satisfy the Safety Fetish.

But because there’s so much money at stake, probably what will happen is they’ll require that cars be fitted with some updated take on the EZ Pass thing –  already in use to automatically debit your account for tolls and such. Why not do the same to “speeders”? They are already seriously talking about tax-by-the-mile.

I’m telling you, it’s coming.

I can smell it.

Can’t you?

Throw it in the Woods?    

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  1. Meet the Regulators Trying to Make Sure Self-Driving Cars Are Safe
    Alexis C. Madrigal – The Atlantic
    This week, the California Department of Motor Vehicles released its final regulations for the testing of autonomous vehicles on the roads of the state. They create a process for companies like Google, Nissan, Mercedes Benz, and the rest of the automakers to test out cars that can drive themselves under certain circumstances. By the end of the year, the DMV will issue an even more important set of regulations that will govern how the public can operate these cars. This is not an easy task, nor one that the regulators asked for. When the California legislature passed Senate Bill 1298 (Vehicle Code Section 38750), they tasked the agency with creating rules that would both encourage the development of autonomous vehicles while protecting the public.

    Gee, I wonder what more government laws “encouraging” autonomous vehicles means?

    • Dear Gary,

      “… they tasked the agency with creating rules that would both encourage the development of autonomous vehicles while protecting the public.”

      Don’t mainstream statists say the darndest things?

      Think about it. Consider the massive psychological evasion required for someone to consistently blank out the brute force coercion behind “rules that would encourage.” It’s really quite something.

      Of course the most mind-boggling aspect is the “consensus reality” the mainstream statists have managed to cobble together and keep propped up like a scarecrow. If enough people back each other up, then an obvious lie can pass for the truth.

        • No, no. Garysco. Parents usually care. A brother. Well, they often have a different agenda – Imho – and don’t give a shit, even if they do ‘care’, Orwell had it spot On.
          Brothers tend to Act like parents, but Do Not have the best of intentions, Unlike parents. …Usually.

    • RE: “Meet the Regulators Trying to Make Sure Self-Driving Cars Are Safe”

      On a military base near me they’ve now imposed a $120 fine for wearing headphones while walking… to make sure you’re safe while crossing intersections. Don’tchyaknow? “Self-Driving”

      ….The bastards are insane, I tell ya. Power drunk and full of….

      • Dear Helot,

        As I have argued before, any wrong-head premise will sooner or later be expressed in its most perversely “logical” form.

        For example, the premise that total mass surveillance for “public safety” will eventually result in some “solon” calling for the mandatory implanting of tracking chips or even kill chips at birth, as part of “citizenship.”

        The logic behind the headphones will eventually result in calls for people to be placed in capsules like those in The Matrix. That way they cannot possibly have traffic accidents.

        The true motive, sociopathic compulsion for control of others will of course never be mentioned.

        • It wasn’t that too long ago that I could drive my Firebird Formula 350 at twice, or three times the speed limit, through that base and be unmolested or bothered by anybody. No one cared. It was cool then, I guess? Relatively speaking. Sort of. [Damn the empire!] Nowadays I feel like I’m a James Dean Rebel if I ride my bicycle near them without wearing a helmet. (Which I do, with relish).

          I imagine this Summer they will nail me.
          …Empires do that to rebels.

      • What! No day-glo orange helmet law to go with it. I am shocked.
        We must certainly keep the enlisted fodder safe for other duties in Afghanistan or Syria.

          • What a dangerous douchebag that praetorian without gun discipline is. A pathetic nothing with an empty set for a soul. Good luck in your chosen MOS of gargling darth vaders dick every morning for 20 fucking years. No one gives a fuck what jokes you think you’re making, you fake ass plastic stormtrooper maggot.

          • Ha! Judging by your reaction, Tor. Either I made a good call by not watching it, …or I’m missing something?

            “But on a lighter note” Garysco ?

          • @Tor – I think you missed the irony of home rules about headphone & orange motorcycle vests for safety, only to be assigned to a place toting a Benneli shotgun & stopping cars. No comment on the big picture.

          • That’s where we are, isn’t? … Painting the town Red.

            Hmph, I think I just had an ah-ha moment.

            It’s not comforting and I’m suddenly regretting not moving out of the country. ….It’s not like I wouldn’t ‘stand’, it’s just that too few will also.

            The town Will be painted Red.

            YouTube shit video goes here, X: “There coming to Get you!”

            I Only hope they run out of money first.

          • Oops, that should be, “They’re coming to Get you!”

            [That grammer error brings to mind: Whatever happened to Ed? He got better and Summer happened? Off fighting cats and wild things?]

            Ya, for the non-paranoid inclined, the phrase,“They’re coming to Get you!” applies to you too, it’s the ‘new’ NSA way, in case you hadn’t noticed, The Feds Are Lawless

          • Dear Helot,
            It’s a liveleak video of a US Troop at a checkpoint talking smack to some middle easterner who doesn’t speak english.

            The soldier says things like, tell your insurgent friends to come out of hiding, so we can shoot them etc.

            The “humor” is the guy trying to live his own life and get past the checkpoint is some kind of schmuck because he didn’t learn english to better interact with his occupiers, I guess.

            Liveleak is a controlled opposition site. I wouldn’t comment negatively at the site itself, since that would be a clover move to do so at a site which is fairly pro military. Being a soldier is just a job in most liveleakers eyes.

        • You’re right Gary, I didn’t even see this comment. I just saw the “on a lighter note” tag and then that video. I attacked it totally out of context, and only meant to attack the man depicted in the video, and those who belong to his archetype.

          I don’t know much about who that guy really is, or too much about what it’s like being him.

          I’ve never been in a monetary position where I would’ve had to consider taking such a low paying, dangerous, and mind scrambling job. I was born on easy street and am probably the real asshole, come to think of it.

          Either way, I just want to reach through the monitor and shake some sense into him.

          Dude, you got to swing the dick and be the man here. You’re the guy with the power and leverage. You’re the one who operates advanced technology. You’re the one free of the blinding idiocy deeply hard-coded into middle eastern psyches, such that nothing can dislodge it.

          Yet somehow, you defer to Mr falafel floppy feet in his dirty daily prom dress. You’re the manchild, and he’s the man. You and your hamburger hill buddies were on the ground while trillions were lavished on all these people, but you’ve had no salient effect whatsoever. You’ve given them even more confidence and swag.

          They won the fucking war in a landslide. His woman is popping him out 9 kids, and making him a sandwich besides. You’re home alone jackin it to Homeland Season 3 reruns and playing Call of Duty online with a 9 year old Korean.

          You fucking loser!

          • Best. Rant. Ever:

            They won the fucking war in a landslide. His woman is popping him out 9 kids, and making him a sandwich besides. You’re home alone jackin it to Homeland Season 3 reruns and playing Call of Duty online with a 9 year old Korean.

            You fucking loser!

            I will memorize this Tor and repeat it, thank you!

  2. CA has already begun eliminating older vehicles from the road. They simply change the smog specs in their centralized system, and the designated vehicle no longer passes the smog test. They eliminated all the carb equipped Ford Rangers by doing this. I doubt they did this to only one vehicle.

  3. Don’t look now but my wife’s two year old Tom Tom has the feature where the speed is displayed on the screen turns red if the posted limit is exceeded. I have noticed it’s slow to update after a stretch of road with a reduced speed limit, as for a repair, returns to the original higher limit. The technology has been around for some time now.

  4. The speed limit indicators in nav systems are not reliable.

    The limit on rural interstates in Virginia has been 70 mph for a few years now, raised from 65. But nav systems in two brand new Mazdas I drove in the past several months still indicated the limit on these interstates as 65 and turned red at 67 accordingly. Conversely, on a congested stretch of I-81 in Pennsylvania near Carlisle (south of Harrisburg), a lower limit of 55 was recently extended by a few miles, but the nav system still gave the limit as the previous one of 65.

    Nav systems likely all have similar flaws regardless of the vehicle or system manufacturer. Limits can change. It’s hard for any database to keep up.

    As some posters may remember, I work at a low level for Mazda and hasten to add that I speak only for myself here. When I leased from the company a 2013 Mazdaspeed3 last year (one of the two with the nav system quirk), upon discovering that telltale speed limit indicator Eric discusses, I unplugged the SD memory from the nav system and went about my business. Being old-school and preferring printed maps anyway helps. The SD was unplugged and the nav system was not activated anyway when I got the car, so I did no harm. And unplugging could still be an option for other cars… For now…

    One other note needs to be made. Some posters above worry about microchipping children, but microchipping and tracking are two different things so far. Microchips can be read only up to so many feet away, such as with lost pets being checked at animal shelters for such ID. That’s only for unchanging data such as name and medical info. These are passive devices and require no power.

    The technology hasn’t yet shrunk enough to allow active GPS–style tracking using an implanted chip, which would have to involve a power source and transmitter as well. That’s why people on home monitoring systems still use ankle bracelets, or else they would indeed have been subject to tracking by subcutaneous chips by now.

    Of course, one day tiny self-powered implantable trackers could appear, but the consensus right now seems to be not anytime real soon. There is some evidence that we might actually be nearing limits on what is possible with reducing the sizes of electronic components without some breakthrough using completely new, different technology. And if it stays that way, it’s for the best. Newer tech is not necessarily better. Many of Eric’s recent posts have made that very point, when the newer tech is intended mainly for ever better monitoring and control of everyone.

  5. Likely the Asimov’s Three Laws problem will permanently stand in the way of self-operating autos anywhere other than on highways 100% reserved for that sort of vehicle and the problem of phase in makes even that unlikely.

    Imagine- your auto car is on a busy residential street moving at say 30 mph. Another vehicle crosses center coming right at ya. Whats a robot to do? Up over the curb? Oh did I mention that would also be up & over a mother & two kids. Whats a robot gonna do?

    WHATEVER, the bot does will end in lawsuits for defective control programming which will make the current GM woes look trivial.

  6. If you have a smart phone in your pocket when you drive, they already get it all, no matter how your car is configured. Even if the phone is turned off, most likely.

    • I have an old flip phone and I take the battery out while I travel. It’s nobody’s business where I go. That phone is for emergency use only.

      • Pretty much the same here. I use a 15-year cell old phone. (It’s about the oldest I could find that will work on the current wireless network.) It has no GPS chip and no internet capability, and is kept turned off most of the time.

        Friends and family are always trying to cajole me into switching to the latest, greatest tracking and surveillance device. Thanks, but no thanks.

        • It is illegal to activate any phone prior to E-911 compatibility. This a law on the carriers. The only way to use a 15 year old phone is if you have been using it continuously for many, like ten, years now. E911 is how they can get your location.

          • I’ve been with the same cell phone carrier for well over 20 years now, though they have been bought and sold multiple times since then.

            As far as activiating my old phone, it was very simple to do since a SIM card is used. I did the following:

            1. Activate new/modern phone (I used one given to me by my carrier). Take battery out of the new phone so it is completely deactivated.

            2. Take SIM card out of the new phone and put it in the old phone.

            3. Use the old phone in place of the modern one.

            Since there is no GPS chip in my phone they have to use triangulation to locate it, which does not work with the phone powered off, and it is off most of the time.

            This works for me, your mileage may vary. (If they don’t like it they can send the cops after me.)

          • Ahh you have a GSM carrier. GSM carriers were far and few between in the USA 20 years ago. Unless of course you’re not in the US…

            Good to know that works. I have some 1990s GSM world (all three bands, including North America 1900) phones about. But the GSM carrier doesn’t really offer anything suitable for me plan wise.

          • I am in the USSA. My carrier was not GSM when I started out with them a couple of decades plus ago, I had an analog bag phone back then. Then a Motorola analog flip phone, and probably some others I’ve forgotten about. GSM service came later.

            The phone I’m using now is one of the early digital models that works with both analog and GSM service. I have the cheapest, most limited available plan as I don’t use the phone much. (It would probably be cheaper to use a pay-as-you-go phone, but as far as I know those are all modern handsets with GPS chips.)

            If the cell phone system changes again then I’m screwed, will either have to do without or maybe there will be hacked phones with the GPS chip disabled available.

  7. What the future holds is your wallet in so many ways, and it is all based on civil law of the paper gods.
    Why are people compelled, by “law” to buy insurance is overlooked by this article, but it is because all classes of driver licenses are “commercial” and since everyone os engaged in “commerce” the gubbermint is involved via the commerce clause.
    The mandate to buy “health care” insurance is predicated on the same principle vapor, that of the paper god predetermining you will be buying health care from their tightly controlled sphere of providers and since costs are not to be controlled because they need to wash as many dollars as possible through the machines of waste to provide cover for the graft and corruption.
    this is your brawn vs brain moment. this structure could not be sustained except by force and the tipping point is yet, off in the distance.

  8. Far too many comments here to know if anyone’s mentioned it yet, but if you’re “caught” speeding by a laser/radar-wielding pig and decide to fight it by using your GPS data as evidence, then the court will try and tell you that 4 GPS satellites that tracked you are liars and the cop’s bullshit gizmo is more accurate, even though the cop’s gizmo doesn’t contain an atomic clock.

    Happens here in Oz frequently.

    If they try then as the article suggests to use GPS data to cite you for “speeding”, then it’s the end game and they should be up for massive class-action suits because they can’t have it both ways.

    I can’t ever see a dash-mounted gizmo ever slowing the car down to match speed limits, as it’s not only a dangerous interference when passing (or at every instance), it’d be the end of speeding fines – the cash cow of every state grabbermint. Intolerable.

  9. Next time a hurricane hits Grand Cayman (in the Caribbean – just left of Jamaica on the map, up a tad, there, you’ve got it!) my wife and I will be as badly off as everybody else. LAST time, we fared better. When 90% of the cars on our Island were incapacitated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we were among the 10% whose old bangers didn’t depend on computers under the seats. The sea surged right across the Island, a foot deep on average. How smug we felt, when both of our old Toyotas were relatively easy to fix.

    We’ve traded up, since, and now run two 1997 models. Living dangerously, maybe – but no GPS, though. If we lived in the US, I would be very tempted to keep an OLD, OLD, car in the garage, purely to spite the spies on those occasions when they might want to track me. No GPS, no nuthin’! Sounds good to me.

  10. Eric,

    What’s the last reasonable year of cars on which this spy system did NOT happen? I realize sensors started c. 1980. And the govt. will end up banning old cars.

    But for now, what is a reasonable cutoff year?


    • Probably what you want to be looking at are cars that have no built-in GPS, no “On-Star,” and no “black box” type data recorder. Maybe no later than early 2000s?

      If you want to be really, really sure, they you need a pre-computer model which would be 1970s or earlier. You would need to do some work to adapt it to the crappy ethanol-laced fuel at today’s pumps, mostly replacing old rubber and plastic parts with ethanol-resistant stuff. Older cars are tough to find in the rust belt, though, and you need to keep after them to prevent them from dissolving back into the earth.

      • Jason: Thanks. I don’t want to go all the way back to a 70s car. I’m not a disco fan. Just back to when cars didn’t have GPS’s and similar STASI instant tracking devices.

        • Well, I have friends that have cars from the mid-2000s that don’t seem to have any GPS capability. It’s probably model-specific. You’d certainly want to avoid anything with On-Star or the like. I don’t think that OBD-II itself stores a heck of a lot that can be used for surveillance purposes.

          Plusbig problem is the network of license plate surveillance cameras being set up (stationary and on drones), once that is sufficiently developed they will be able to track your every move even if you are driving an old Falcon or the like with ignition points and carb.

          Maybe something like this is needed:


          Though I’m sure they will be made illegal for road use even if they are not already. Maybe a James Bond type rotating license plate is the ticket…


          (I have no connection with the vendors of any of these devices.)

  11. Great story . I see our cars transmitting real time to the local gestapo vehicle or office all the relevant information and coupled with the info from that cell phone in your pocket you will get a bill or arrest warrant via text.

    If you have not read the Lysander Spooner ”No Treason” 48 page letter.
    You need to its available free here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/36145/36145-h/36145-h.htm . There is no reason for us to put up with abuse.

    My next car will be old iron with no computers.

  12. Its clear that the solution is for some enterprising hackers to come up with ways to disable these devices and still allow the vehicles to run. Mine do not as yet have them, but if I get to the point that I have to buy a newer car I would happily pay a reasonable amount for someone to disable them in such a way that it’s 1, not obvious and 2, reverseable so that at registration time we can avoid problems. Screw the gestapo!


    • The slickest way to disable it would be to spoof it. Say, upload a database of waypoints into the cars GPS recorder that have you just going to town and back, while you actually drive the car cross the state. Yes, hacking these things will be quite lucrative to the guy that can figure it out.

  13. I didn’t know where to post this, but in reference to this article:

    I decided to send an email to the company (DRN):


    I am looking for information on your automatic license plate reading technology. Specifically, I’m interested in exploiting vulnerabilities in your technology that will allow me and others to effectively avoid having our vehicles tracked. For instance, how does the technology handle deformations in the plates, or stains (mud, paint, etc.)? Will your cameras still be able to read plates with these abnormalities? Are there any other vulnerabilities that I have not mentioned that you can suggest to help me (and others) avoid having personal location data tracked, recorded, held indefinitely, and sold to third parties, violating my natural right to privacy and possibly used for blackmail in the future through manipulation of data to place my vehicles where they never were?

    Any help you can give me will be much appreciated.



    I await their response.

  14. Since we all pay for this extra equipment in the price of a car, the answer is don’t buy one. That is the ultimate consumer vote.
    If no one buys their product, the car manufacturers go broke.
    That entails keeping an older vehicle running. The car people are trying to make that impossible to do with their stupid engineering. Like putting a starter where no one can replace it but a dealer.
    They are all ready seeing that day coming because the new car is way beyond most people’s ability to purchase. So lease deals are everywhere. Eventually 7 years down the road you may even be able to afford your leased car.
    I had a rental after an accident last year for minor damage. The repair from insurance of the other person was really expensive.
    This was on a 6 year old truck.
    The great equalizer here is going to be financing. Just as the housing industry is taking a huge hit because of 30-40% unemployment, I think the car industry will also.
    Most people do not need fancy gadgets on their car. The poor need a car to get from point A to point B with minimal expense and miminal need for repairs. The car has to be repairable. The poor are a clear majority in today’s world with many people forced to go back home to the older generation and live because of finances. AC is nice to have in any place where the temps are in the high 80s to 90s in the summer. Power windows, Power brakes, and even a Sun Roof are nice. But they are extras you can do without to get from point A to point B and back.
    Let me spell it out. My Honda Accord is ancient. It gets 20 miles to the gallon on regular gas in town. My Frontier Truck gets 15 miles to the gallon. If I run 250 miles in a week, there is often a 16 dollar difference in my gasoline bill between 15 and 20 miles to the gallon. Bottom line is I can use that extra 16 dollars.
    So I drive the truck when I have to. I drive the Honda when I go anywhere else.
    I am an average person, 71 years old, living on Social Security. My utilities this winter were in the $600 range.
    Until these jerks in government and industry realise they have priced themselves off the market, then nothing will change. When that day arrives and it will be soon, then they will have to redesign all the rules by which we live to make life liveable for all of us.

  15. The insurance piece is already in place. Just yesterday I heard a commercial for Allstate’s DriveWise program. It is couched as a rewards program for “safe” drivers, with no penalties mentioned for “unsafe” ones. Although it didn’t mention GPS or EDR interrogation for data collection, there is no way to know of a persons driving choices without that technology. What is now market-based will be legislation in five years. The cow moves through the slaughter pen without much commotion.

  16. The 2007 car I own doesn’t have built-in GPS, but I have a unit I take with me when I am going somewhere new. It works better than having to depend on a passenger who can’t read a map.
    Monitoring the speed limit is helpful since many times there are no signs for miles. I am not so concerned about safety as being robbed by a highwayman while on an unfamiliar route to my destination.
    The Garmin database of highway speed limits is not always up to date. What the receiver and the road signs display is not always the same. Governments constantly change speed limits. Consequently, I update the maps on the receiver before taking a long trip.
    A feature I would like on the GPS receiver is an audible alert that the speed limit has changed in order to avoid local speed traps where they hide the sign.
    I am not concerned about safety so much as I want to prevent my pocket being picked by the local gendarme and traffic court. For may towns, that is how the government supports itself.

  17. The speed limit thing can work for or against you. The government could simply tax you based on your speed data. To speed you would need extra driver training, a yearly physical exam, a car capable of that speed, a $5 million dollar liability policy. No cops messing with you, as long as you pay your monthly high speed usage fee. Actually you could eliminate most need for police monitoring of drivers.

    Actually I think at this point you should not be able to drive with less that $1 million in liability coverage. That would get the clovers off the road and onto the bus where they would be happier, and Eric Peters would be happier. So why not pursue happiness?

    If you do not have control of the government, trying to hide from it won’t work. Cliven Bundy lives on the dividing line between Las Vegas and nowhere and they still found him. So you might as well give up all your data to the government. Your ability to hide is just a fantasy you have.

    • Hi George,

      The problem with mandating insurance is the presumption of loss; i.e., I am going to cause harm as opposed to I might cause harm.

      If, however, I have not caused you harm, by what right do you threaten me with violence? I might do any number of things; so might you.

      I might wreck. I might also grab my chainsaw and go on a chainsaw rampage with it. Do you also believe no one should be allowed to own a chainsaw unless they have chainsaw liability insurance? If not, why?

      On the other hand, if I actually do cause harm – whether with my car or my chainsaw – then there is a clearcut/inarguable ethical right to hold me (and only me) responsible.

      This is just.

      It is not just to control/punish people on the basis of what they might do.

  18. Now why would Garmin integrate past routes I have traveled into the mandatory web based software that updates the street map database in my Zumo 550, which also force “backs-up” everything to a nice file prior to updating on the web? Then they “offer” me the ability to “share” my favorite routes traveled with my friends using their free online service? Hummmm, I guess Garmin is in the business of giving stuff away for free to every customer that wants their street map base to be current. How thoughtful.

  19. And you know what? The gadget-obsessed, beanie-cap morons who comprise America will stampede to get these gewgaws, and more. As usual, the majority will make our choices for us. Enjoy.

  20. @Eric

    While I think you are on the right track, I don’t think you’ve thought this through to the conclusion – cars will drive themselves and you will become “Captan Dunsell”. Yes, the incremental step of wealth confiscation will occur, but that isn’t the goal. The goal is that the human element is removed from transportation. That is what the PTB wants, a totally controlled environment.

    That might work in the east/left coast environments, but out here in fly-over country (the inter-mountain west) “that aint happenin”. I live in a small town, we got our first/only stop light only in the last five years. We have areas out here that cannot be navigated by GPS – better to learn to read a topo 🙂 You will not GPS into the River of No Return Wilderness with an autonomous vehicle – no matter how good the software gets. But it could be used to keep you out . . .

    • RE: “That might work in the east/left coast environments, but out here in fly-over country (the inter-mountain west) “that aint happenin”. ”

      God that was wonderful to read.

      Even on the coasts, I know of a guy, followed his GPS, it directed him straight into a river.
      I’m sure they’ll overcome it. But I was happy to learn of that. Sad for him, tho. I imagine it’s only a matter of time until they get that straightened out and we’re all just plots on a graph. …Statistics on a government chart. …

    • I guess I should say that on the plus side autonomous drive vehicles will keep Clover from being – well – a clover/ass-hat, taking discretion from him/her/it . . .

      • Really? “autonomous drive vehicles will keep Clover from being – well – a clover/ass-hat”

        You think so?

        I somehow doubt that.
        I suspect we’d all be turned into Clovers, and yet the Clovers of the world would still keep on being the same, “ass-hats”.

        Notice, the speed limit going from black and white – to Red – on the dashboard, only did so on the Up side, not the down side. … Go from there.
        Frustration City.

      • Hi 3D,

        I doubt it; rather, I think what would happen would be that cars are programmed operate at Clover’s pace and standards. Full stops at every stop sign and light, whether there’s any need to stop of not. Gradual, Clover-pace acceleration and cruising speeds. Forget “cornering.” Clover does not corner. Etc.

    • Hi 3D,

      Bad news, amigo.

      I, too, live in a one-light county. Very rural. Yet the latest gen GPS systems in the newest cars have most of the county mapped. Some – the high end cars – have an extra-creepy Google Earth View-esque map that shows the actual got-damned trees you’re driving by. Not icons or representations. The actual specific trees. The house you just drove by? It’s there, too – an you can see the guy’s car in his driveway… on the freakin’ map…

  21. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen this sort of annoying “feature” on many built-in GPS navigation systems for years, and I always turn off the alert (not that this would prevent the system from recording/reporting your speed).

    My current 2013 VW Touareg has the ability to display the speed limit and it does turn red when you exceed it (no audible component, if I recall). You can disable the display and alarm or just the alarm. Sometimes I will enable it when I’m on long road trips in unfamiliar territory simply because speed limit signs can often be posted dozens of miles apart, especially out west, and you may join a highway somewhere in the middle and not know that you’re driving in a 45mph zone and be safely cruising at 70mph on a 4-lane divided highway for miles on end. As much as I dislike speed limits, I’d rather stay informed so that I know how much I’m breaking the speed limit by and can tone it down and not have to depend so heavily on radar detectors.

    I had a similar “feature” on my 2011 Infiniti G37 and it’s also built in to the NaviGon app on iOS, which I will use when in other people’s cars. It has visual and audible warnings for overspeed, but it also lets you custom determine the amount over the speed limit you have to be traveling to set off the alarm. This is also a “feature” on Escort’s “Escort Live” speed trap reporting app.

    I think you’re totally dead on with the concerns. I’d also suggest another possible concern, remote disabling of your vehicle by the police. If they wanted to now, with services like OnStar and most other similar systems, the service center can shut off the engine remotely. It’s intended to be used to limit car theft, but there’s nothing that is stopping the government, in the name of safety, from requiring such services to be able to communicate live with police or other goons that could then request a remote disable based on VIN number, license plate number, or even rough GPS coordinates with direction of travel. It might even be possible to shut down any cars in a given area that are so equipped, thus making it harder for, say, a getaway driver in a non-affected car to get through what would effectively be roadblocks.

    Car insurance companies are already using plug-in monitors for your OBDII port to record your driving habits in the name of saving money. How soon before they start requiring them or you’re charged more? What about, as you say, the next gen that integrates with GPS and automatically charges you more when you drive faster?

    I think about anything can be turned to evil purposes, and government is particularly skilled at that. To bad it’s not very good at doing something productive or helpful.

  22. The data recorder will tally and report more than just speed/location. How about number of souls on board, seat belt use, aromatics yielded by alcohol or tobacco, compounds released by gunpowder residue, engine operating parameters that may trigger shutdown or limp mode with instructions to proceed to the nearest state inspection cell, id of those on board by interrogation of rfid d/l and/or state issued id…the possibilities are endless…and our breaking points are not near being breached. But I’ll restore the ’68 bug to as good a running condition as I can.

    • What a horrible and lovely post, all-in-one, tired dog.

      My thoughts exactly.

      There are no more, Far Blue Mountains.

    • Hi Tired Dog,

      I am certain this will end with “old cars” – those not equipped with the latest “safety” features – being banned outright or de facto banned via laws requiring them to be “updated” to meet current standards or else not be “legal” to operate on “public” roads.

      I’m actually surprised it hasn’t already happened.

      • Hiya Eric:

        I totally agree someone somewhere will try to make it nearly impossible for an older car to be on the road.

        An older car is all some can afford to drive, and barely at that. Do the regulators have any clue about the real world ? where people get taxed to death on most everything. Most of them can probably afford new or nearly new used cars.

        I pay a lot in taxes, property, sales tax, gas tax, tax on internet. I am left with not much to live off, while those in the government often have decent jobs, benefits, which I pay for, yet I get little in return other than more laws.

        Also what would happen to the older cars, like your 76 Firebird ? That is a classic now. How about the muscle cars of the 60’s, the older Vettes ? Porsches ?

        I know I could not afford to update our 2000 sebring convertible to any sort of standards.

        • I think we have to accept the fact that, far from simply being clueless as to our reality and financial problems, the controllers and regulators are happy to use that to our destruction. Their goal is to get us all OFF the road and into their Agenda 21 cells, walking the few pitiful places we’re still allowed to go. Their goal is total control, and nothing else matters. The only vehicles left will be for the exclusive pleasure of the controllers, and quite possibly a few to collect our dead bodies from time to time…

          The only question is, what are we going to do about it? Hiding is not an option.

          • It’s simple. Bundy time; refuse. Resist. Do not comply. Drag your feet. Ignore. Sabotage.

            Their time is running out; they’re broke, they’ve lost the infowar. Nobody believes them anymore–except their client class, the 30% who are such idiots and slaves they’re completely hopeless anyway.

            The globalists have badly miscalculated. They’ve run their experiments on several test populations; Sweden is a shining example–conformity, statism, complicity at all costs, hyper-socialism. And it worked…on them.

            But we have a cultural memory of rebellion. The very lies they feed us–the “Noble Lie” that we’re free, that we were founded by righteous rebels, the cowboy hats and six-shooters–worked to keep us deceived, but threaten the illusion and suddenly the illusion becomes REAL, and you actually HAVE cowboys with six-shooters.

            They’re pushing too far, too fast, their credibility is completely shot. They’re financially broke, morally broke, and intellectually broke.

            All they have now is force.

            And it won’t be like the 70 years of grinding Soviet misery. Remember, they were propped up by the same Anglo-American banks who funded and organized the Bolshevik revolution in the first place! The Soviets were a bankster creation to usher in the military-industrial complex; the Cold War was a gigantic hoax, just like the War On “Terror”, to corral us into prison.

            The US has no external financial backer. It’s the mark–if you’re sitting at a poker table and you don’t know who the mark is…IT’S YOU.

            So they’ll go down very quickly under their failed economics…by design.

            The globalists think that’s the final step, and America will be enslaved–and that’s their biggest miscalculation.

          • MamaLiberty – You are absolutely right; this is about total control and population reduction (culling the herd if you prefer). I’ve read in the past that a worldwide population of 500 million is “sustainable.” Agenda 21 is designed to free up beach front property, wilderness areas and mountain vistas exclusively for the wealthiest insiders. That means a few billion of us have got to go with just enough serfs left to serve the “elite.” Algore’s Montecito, Ca. $8.9M beachfront estate is a case in point. With all the “global warming”, “melting glaciers” and “rising oceans” hysteria, one would think someone so environmentally concerned would avoid buying a mansion that’s barely above sea level. Now if he could just find a way to get rid of some of the neighbors, maybe he could have a few more than just that meager 1.5 acres to spread out on?

            This is why I focus on gun rights; armed people are hard on predators of all stripes. As we just saw with the Bundy vs. BLM standoff, the gun-vermin still fear an armed populace. When the secret police think they may not get to go home that night, or ever, they retreat. Oh, I realize that’s far from over because the federales never like being shown up. But what it does say is more and more common people are sufficiently fed up with federal overreach to take an armed stand. And even with all their high tech wizardry and heavy hardware, the BLM goons turned out to be cowards. That’s a good sign. This is also why the BATFE is making a concerted effort to scan gun dealers’ bound books and build a national database of gun owners, the law be damned. And as the federal gun-vermin encroach our rights ever more they will meet more and more resistance. They want to know where to go and who to disarm first. The less they know the better.

            I have already considered buying a big sport bike “off paper” and just riding it out of rebellion; screw ’em. I’ve already had a good life. What are they gonna do? Kill me? They’ll have to catch me first. And to do that they’ll have to ID me. It might be easier said than done or even too much trouble. If you give ’em as little info as possible, be a small fish and do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, it fairly easy to slip through the cracks. It’s also been my experience that by dealing fairly and honestly with my neighbors and areas businesses, I have a lot of credibility and very few problems. So when I point out glaring inconsistencies in the news, the government and banking to “mainstream” folks, they tend to listen. I come here to recharge my batteries, toss out my “brain droppings” and receive feedback. I then adjust my position accordingly and go back to informing the less Liberty minded around me how things really should work. I think it helps. I get a lot more agreement than opposition these days.

            But your question “what are we going to do about it?” deserves a serious answer. I don’t have the technical savvy to do it, but I believe we need a national registry of federal functionaries. Something like wiki-leaks; decentralized and untouchable by the PTB, where we are able to update and pull up a database that shows the home addresses, personal cell phone numbers, email addresses, GPS coordinates, job title and chain of command, etc. of every armed member of the bureaucracy from deputy sheriffs to the U.S. Marshals service, and all the alphabet soup agencies in between. Instead of “If you see something, say something”, how about “Know your neighbors”? Because if they hold “public office”, it’s at our expense and they are our employees. Therefore we have the right to know who they are, what they do and where they live as a matter of “public record.” If they want privacy then they need to go get honest productive jobs in the “private sector.”

            Do you notice now that the vast majority of SWAT raids are conducted by masked functionaries? It’s not much different than a bank robbery; faces covered to protect the perps. The only thing that will keep people like that “honest” is to strip them of their anonymity. There’s a lot of power in the fear that their fellow countrymen would know where they live if they abuse their office. A lot of them would simply quit. The others would have to be a lot more careful about keeping their oath of office. That’s one practical way I can see to pull some of the beast’s teeth without violating the NAP.

          • @Boothe–absolutely, home addresses to start with. Rank, place of employment, mug shot.

            ALL state employees. ALL of them.

            If they’ve got nothing to hide, what are they so afraid of?

          • Dear Boothe,

            ” The only thing that will keep people like that “honest” is to strip them of their anonymity. There’s a lot of power in the fear that their fellow countrymen would know where they live if they abuse their office. A lot of them would simply quit. The others would have to be a lot more careful about keeping their oath of office. That’s one practical way I can see to pull some of the beast’s teeth without violating the NAP.”

            Yes! Definitely doable.

            Now that’s what I’m talking about when I say a multifront approach. Try everything consistent with the NAP.

            The good thing about this is that it turns the goonvermins’ information gathering on us back around on them! It’s PC, and hard for them to object to.

          • Everyone with government is paranoid.

            Look at all the “protection” they “need”. If they weren’t f’ing with so many people they wouldn’t need it. The protection they have is proportional to how much screwing up other people’s lives they are ultimately responsible for. The more people one angers, the more protection he needs.

      • You’re thinking too simply. They’re already running older models off the road by increasing the ethanol content in our gas. Older cars aren’t designed for ethanol and critical seals deteriorate within the engine prompting excessively expensive repairs. Most people can’t afford the repairs. Same is happening in the diesel community.

        • Not the first. They started the old car extermination movement back in the 1980s. There were attempts to ban cars made before 1980. Keep in mind the 80s weren’t over… they were looking to ban cars just a few years old.

          Cash for clunkers is much like previous extermination programs that were run in the 80s and 90s on the state levels, mostly out west. Ever wonder why movies wreck old cars? Because it’s best for them, they get sellable emission credits for doing so (unless the law was repealed, which I doubt)

          The battle against government used to be a regular column in HMN.

          • The excuses were the usual. The old cars were ‘dirty’, ‘unsafe’ and ‘gas guzzlers’.

            Back then pre-80 cars were still daily drivers. Now it’s rare to even see an 80s car as daily driver.

          • I guess we had the same here in the UK. I seem to remember seeing many more 1970s cars back then from my memories as a child. I remember cars like Minis, Renault 4s, first gen Renault 5s, Citroen 2CVs , old Alfas, Fiats as well as old-style Vauxhalls and Fords best.

  23. As I predicted many years ago automated cars will enforce the edicts of Claybrookian Clovers.

    but there is one problem. The government wants the ticket revenue. there will be conflict within itself. New per-mile taxes will go into effect before the speed limit enforcement.

  24. Let’s hope the hacker community can find a way around the “black box” spy, I imagine it will be set up so the car won’t run if it’s disabled so it will require some computer knowledge for a workaround. I recently got a taste of this in a rental car that came equipped with a governor or whatever (probably programmed into the on board computer) that limited top speed to 80 mph. Great fun trying to pass a semi on a highway where the speed limit was 70 and most of the traffic was doing 75+ , I’ll never rent from that company again but they’re probably the leading edge for all car rentals in the future.
    Next up will be a feature to shut off the car and broadcast your location to the local Gestapo so they can come collect your sorry ass for some re-education incarceration. Hope I can keep the ’01 and ’03 Corollas running for another 10 years or so, by then the PTB might outlaw older cars anyway for our saaaaafety of course, but I’ll be too old to give much of a shit anyway.

    • I see a great opportunity for any security/ hacker programmer. Lots of Bitcoins changing hands 🙂

      The car does not even have to be operational. – OnStar called the local cops to the scene of a crash as reported by the vehicle itself. Five minutes later the cars owner called the cops to report a hit and run on his parked car.

  25. Most automotive GPS’s use an external antenna located in the dashboard, rear window liner or on the top of the car.
    The antenna is almost always a dual use GPS and Cellular phone
    Find the antenna and either unplug it or cover it up with some aluminum tape.

  26. Unfortunately, Eric, all that you describe will most likely come to pass, you can tell it’s just over the horizon. Just wait until implants come along, they’ll be sold to people not just “for the children,” but as a wonderful convenience.

    Just think, no messy cell phone or tablet to lug around, just be directly connected 24/7! Imagine the ease! The fun! Doubleplusgood!


  27. I wouldn’t mind finding someone else to drive. I hate driving, really. But he’d have to be fairly well off, my age, clean and willing to do the dishes occasionally. 🙂 A robot in the car? I don’t think so.

  28. As “Sci-Fi” as this might sound….all this will eventually lead to humans being micro chipped. They’ll sell it as always for our protection or to protect the children. These implants are already available and being sold to children as wonderful techy gizmos of the future. Yes Eric, they are coming.

  29. Eric – I’ve stated this many times before “Dead slaves don’t pay taxes.” If you are one of the few productive “hosts” left in society, indicated by the fact that you can afford a new car, the parasites want to make absolutely sure they get the maximum useful life span out of you; just like managing a herd of cattle or flock of chickens. Then once you become a burden on the system you get “Obamacare” (i.e. euthanasia). This whole “safety” paradigm from crumple zones, collapsible steering columns, padded dashboards, and seatbelts to airbags, ABS, back up cameras, etc. is merely there to keep us safe so we continue paying into the system.

    If I want a French walnut dashboard in my Miata and a matching steering wheel with chrome spokes, why can’t I have that in a “free country”? Why is it against federal law for me to remove junk I don’t want and replace it with things I do want on “my” car? And the converse is if I want a six point racing restraint in my new Mustang, why can’t I have that instead a standard shoulder belt as well? How about I just want a modern update to the Triumph Spitfire with electronic ignition and fuel injection for reliability, but no ABS, no “black box”, no GPS, nothing but pure car. I should be able to go down to my local dealer and order what I want, stripped down or decked out and it would not be any of the government’s business. It’s my money, is it not?

    I can see now that I’m going to keep my ’93 Wrangler with no airbags, no ABS and no B.S. for a very long time. The same goes for my ’97 Miata. But even without on-board telemetry, I suppose it’s just a matter of time before we’re all subjected to real-time drone and satellite tracking if we’re on the road; we’re already living under the pole mounted surveillance camera Panopticon on virtually every major artery already. That line “freedom isn’t free” is pure hooey; here in Amerika these days “freedom” isn’t real. It’s all an illusion to keep us paying into their bankrupt system and to make the unthinking masses feel good about doing it. Thank God for motorcycles.

    • Boothe wrote, “Dead slaves don’t pay taxes.”

      …Wait. Are estate taxes essentially paid for by the deceased?
      And, when insurance companies pay out for a life insurance policy, are taxes collected? Could it be said that they tax you to death, and then tax you some more? …Or at least gain from your demise?

      I was just thinking about all the insurance policies the J.P. Morgan banks took out on their employees (paid to the bank, not the families) who were suicided as of late. The state gains.

      Also, while not a tax (and a bit off topic, pardon me) dead slaves sure do seem to increase state power while simultaneously being a reason to restrict individual rights RE:

      The magic of Sandy Hook

      • Helot – Great observations. Estate taxes are the last great theft of the fruits of the decedent’s labor. So even though you’re dead when they are collected, it was during your productive life that the wealth they steal was amassed. It allows the state to (A) steal from you one last time, while (B) making sure your heirs don’t get too much of a leg up or head start. The estate tax helps ensure that the serfs don’t get off the plantation.

        Now “dead peasant” insurance is a different matter altogether. This is your employer betting that you’re going to meet an untimely demise. Nice. As far as taxes go on life insurance, I’m not real clear on how that works, but you can bet that the state will do their best to steal a portion of that too. Now if the beneficiary (unknown to the decedent and his heirs in the case of “dead peasant insurance”) is a corporation, you can also bet they’ll do everything they can to keep the bulk of their ill gotten gain. After all, corporations are creatures of the state, therefore made in the image of their creator, so you can see how they might act like their creator as well.

        Now I’m not proposing that “there oughta’ be a law” against “dead peasant” insurance. The right to contract covers that. I just think its unethical and should be exposed to the light truth so social pressure can be brought to bear on companies that do it.

        The bottom line is this; government is a gang of thieves writ large to quote Rothbard. As the old saying goes, there is no honor among thieves. The gun-vermin will steal from you when you are alive and when you are dead. They don’t care as long as they get as much as they can without a real threat of popular revolt. As Sheriff Hank Pearson said in Extreme Prejudice, “The only thing worse than a politician is a child molester.” Ain’t it the truth…

        This is why when the masses are dragging the local politicians into the courthouse square screaming “Off with their heads!” I will turn my back on those that once wanted to rule over me and let Madame Guillotine have her way with them. Maybe it will send a message to the next group that thinks they oughta be running things.

    • “Thank God for motorcycles.”

      That’s what I was thinking. You want to go fast – get a motorcycle. It’s less likely to be loaded with nanny state crap, and the information will be available for ripping out what there is (California pollution equipment routinely gets discarded for example, and loud aftermarket mufflers are the norm). Motorcycles also seem to be a lot better for outrunning cops.

      I don’t think we will see the end game the doom-and-gloomers here predict, because the empire will crash and burn long before that point. We may end up like Cuba instead, trying to keep old cars alive.

      • Agreed. I think they’re prepared for, no, lusting for, a Jacobin French Revolution…complete with lovely concentration re-education camps and lots of delicious death death death.

        They are, after all, psychopaths.

        But it’s increasingly obvious they’re not going to get it. Remember, the Soviet system was propped up by the very Anglo-American banksters who started it in the first place in furtherance of their problem-reaction-solution Hegelian dialectic.

        There’s no-one to prop up the Amerikan Soviet.

        In fact I think that may be one of the banksters’ plays–to make Amerika hated and despised, then pull out the rug economically. They HATE Americans–somewhat literally “for our freedoms”. Asshole Retard Bush got at least that right.

        With no-one to prop it up, the consequences of collectivism will be felt immediately and drastically.

        Liberty-minded states will secede–not openly, but passively. At first.

        The key will be all of US–guys like the readers here–to take the initiative in rebuilding. The ideas we cherish and live by are the rosetta stones to the next stage in this civilization.

        I know it sounds grandiose, but it’s true. We’re at a crossroads in history that comes maybe once every few hundred years.

        • @Meth – “The key will be all of US–guys like the readers here–to take the initiative in rebuilding. The ideas we cherish and live by are the rosetta stones to the next stage in this civilization.”

          You mean I will have to give back my free Obamaphone? Damn.

      • Hi PJ,


        I have five. Gonna post a vid at some point of me doing great violence to the speed limit – and without being killed, either!

        Saaaaaaaaaaaafety first!

    • You are just being silly.
      Of course its not your money.
      You did not build it, Barry did.
      The gubment lets you keep some of your money if you are nice AND geve a good accountant.

      And AAA already offers you the opportunity to put a tracking device in your car to track how far you drive and how fast you drive. You get a small incentive for alowing them to install it.

      • Ya, Bob,… Pan Pan Pan.

        Anyway, I was at the liquor dept. of the grocery store the other day in line to buy my Jack, per the former world’s oldest man who said his secret to living way past his doctors was: alcohol, cigarettes and wild women.

        It’s not as easy as he made it out to be. Let me tell you.

        It’s the living that’s hard?

        …Now what was my point? .. Oh yeah…

        Kiss my ass, Clover! And Uff Da! to you and your overlords!

  30. GPS technology is “send and receive.” In order for the car to know its position (and speed) at any given moment, it must be able to communicate with GPS satellites in real time. This communication is not a one-way street.

    GPS in itself is most definitely a 1 way communication service. A GPS Receiver is just that, a receiver. there’s no transmitter in a GPS. The receiver listens for satellites transmitting their unique number, their position, and a table called an almanac. The receiver looks up where the satellites say they are and compare it to the almanac data. Through some math they determine that since they heard from satellites a, b, c, and d, and they are telling me they are in positions w, x, y, and z (and that the time is exactly 12:00 noon), I must be at location “L” since that’s the only possible place on Earth that can fit the formula (the other position that works is between the Earth and the Moon, so it’s not likely the receiver is there).

    Now, your car might have a cellular modem for things like On-star and other “value added” services, and of course your smart phone will report everything back, but not using the GPS system.

    GPS is one of those “grey areas” for me as a libertarian (the other is the National Park system, but that’s another rant). There’s no way it would be anywhere near as useful if I had to pay a service fee for every GPS receiver (I have one that I use as a clock, for example), but I know that the millions of dollars it cost to deploy would have been much cheaper had private money built it. But then again, if it were taken out of the hands of the military and given to the Bureau of Weights and Measures (a constitutionally mandated organization), I’d be fine with it, since it’s just another measurement tool.

    • Thanks for posting this Eric_G –
      GPS receivers are indeed receive-only devices. Each of the satellites have an atomic clock on board to maintain an accurate time signal. The USAF updates the time on them every so often to account for the satellites drifting in orbit (drag by the atmosphere, gravity fluctuations in the Earth, etc).

      I’m a minanarchist, so I think there are some valid functions that can be performed by the government. Weights, measures, and other similar national standards are one such.

      So far as speed reporting to the busy-bodies. I see two ways – one is over cellular data connection via the telematics system (OnStar, etc). The other is the computer in the car keeping a record over time and getting downloaded via the datalink connector when you get the annual inspection.

      I think the 2nd is more likely, as state government is looking to go to mileage-based taxation as cars become more fuel efficient. Which is another topic – cars cause essentially -zero- damage to roads. It’s all the big trucks that cause the wear & tear. But the trucking lobby is very powerful and the politicians won’t direct the costs to those causing the damage.

      • GPS normally is good for 300 foot positional accuracy. However, with the addition of WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Service-a ground based system of time, position error correction) aircraft position can be determined to 3 feet which make a WAAS enabled GPS suitable for aviation IFR operations. This is certainly good enough to have autonomous vehicles-Google Cars, as vehicles can also benefit from WAAS. On-board ABS, VSC and other systems are used to refine a vehicles position such as when passing through a tunnel and GPS cannot be received.

        Now then, with the certain deployment of OBDIII, the vehicle will be able to communicate with the mother ship (Fed Gov) in the same way that On-Star does now. One of the things being discussed is the fact that the on board computer knows when a failure in the emissions control has occurred (check engine light on) and can communicate this. The citation or service demand will be waiting for you when you arrive home. This is not new technology. There has been road-side emission testing going on for about 20 years now and mention of citations has cropped up from time to time. Also great for per-mile taxation and speeding citations as already discussed here.

        So is it any great stretch of the imagination to think that all of what Eric states is not only possible, but probable? Our vehicles will not only rat us out, but will become as utilitarian as a park bench and about as exciting. I just can’t figure the OEM take on this. As cars become more expensive and no longer your best friend, there will be resistance to new vehicle purchases. Maybe Government Motors is the business model of the future. Follow the gubment and receive your subsidy check.

        Just imagine, our VIN numbers will be our credit card numbers. No hassle driving will become a reality when your citation is added to your monthly statement, along with your bridge tolls, road tolls, mileage tax, emission impact fees…

      • O.K., I missed this article and therefore this comment up until now, but I can’t let this idiotic comment go unchallenged late or not!
        Chiph. Provide us with proof that the trucking industry isn’t paying for the road usage, and that the lobby has prevented said companies from having to do so.
        You cannot do so because you were speaking from your ass! Stop farting out nonsense from your mouth!
        The very slightest of research would have shown that every OTR truck pays thousands of dollars per year on fuel taxes and state permits; yet idiots like you spread wild rumors saying otherwise!
        Oh, and raising the costs even higher for trucking companies will only cause the prices of the things you buy which were delivered by truck to increase. Further: the weather causes more damage to our improperly built roads than do vehicles, so you are barking up the wrong tree there too! Are you now going to complain to your government that they allow shoddy highway construction?Are you going to demand that God start paying for the weather damage?

    • yes, basic GPS/Satellite is ‘receive-only’ — but commercial & consumer technology has widely added ‘Transmit’ capability by integrating standard radio and cellfone modules with basic GPS output. All sorts of “GPS Trackers” are available to consumers online at affordable prices; car manufacturers & cops have much fancier stuff.

      So it’s a trivial matter to transmit GPS location/motion data– and it’s already being done a lot.

      Also, this ‘coming’ technology will eliminate License-Plates & Registration slips in glove compartments — all private vehicles will transmit their precise identity & location to the government 24/7. Cops and government lawyers won’t even have to leave their offices to find you or track you continually — the searchable databases/dossiers compiled on everyone will put today’s NSA capabilities to shame… ( relative to the government’s Collect-it-All attitude)

  31. My 1968 Oldsmobile Delta 88 had an option called the “Safety Sentinel” which was a speedometer with a “second needle” that you set at, say, 65 MPH. If you exceeded that speed, an annoying buzzer went off. It was a neat option that, if I recall, was known as “poor man’s cruise control.” It came in handy because it was quite easy to hit 80 in that car, thanks to its enormous bulk and marshmallow-like suspension that kept you from realizing just how fast you’re going.

    This option was, as the name implied, optional. You didn’t have to have it. What’s more, you could disable it if you chose to, either by disconnecting the buzzer or by turning the needle all the way past 120 MPH. That’s not the case with today’s “speed minders.”

    • My A3 has that “feature,” although implemented on the trip computer. I set it accidentally and when it went off I just about wrecked trying to turn it off.

    • My grandfather had Oldsmobiles with that feature. He used it too, to avoid roadside taxation, not ‘speed kills’.

      But the buzzer is perfectly acceptable, it’s all user controlled. It has no records, no data, nothing.

      • I used to be an EMT in a big city and car jackers used to push empty baby carriages in front of cars to get people to stop. I wouldn’t want a car with auto braking unless it can make some non politically correct judgments about the people on the side.

        • Hey Steve,

          That hadn’t occurred to me – but you’re absolutely right. It’s a true “safety” issue… but of course, it’s not really “safety” that’s at issue…

  32. Cue Red Barchetta…..

    “Red Barchetta”

    My uncle has a country place
    That no one knows about
    He says it used to be a farm
    Before the Motor Law
    And on Sundays I elude the eyes
    And hop the Turbine Freight
    To far outside the Wire
    Where my white-haired uncle waits

    Jump to the ground
    As the Turbo slows to cross the borderline
    Run like the wind
    As excitement shivers up and down my spine
    Down in his barn
    My uncle preserved for me an old machine
    For fifty odd years
    To keep it as new has been his dearest dream

    I strip away the old debris
    That hides a shining car
    A brilliant red Barchetta
    From a better vanished time
    I fire up the willing engine
    Responding with a roar
    Tires spitting gravel
    I commit my weekly crime

    In my hair
    Shifting and drifting
    Mechanical music
    Adrenaline surge…

    Well-weathered leather
    Hot metal and oil
    The scented country air
    Sunlight on chrome
    The blur of the landscape
    Every nerve aware

    Suddenly ahead of me
    Across the mountainside
    A gleaming alloy air car
    Shoots towards me, two lanes wide
    I spin around with shrieking tires
    To run the deadly race
    Go screaming through the valley
    As another joins the chase

    Drive like the wind
    Straining the limits of machine and man
    Laughing out loud with fear and hope
    I’ve got a desperate plan
    At the one-lane bridge
    I leave the giants stranded at the riverside
    Race back to the farm
    To dream with my uncle at the fireside


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