Wednesday, 14 May 2014 11:02

EU Mandates Tracking Devices on European Cars; Nations Powerless

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Under the guise of improving “road safety,” unelected bosses at the European Union have decreed that all new cars across the bloc must be fitted with mandatory GPS tracking devices, which analysts say will be used by authorities to spy on citizens. As national sovereignty and self-government increasingly give way to the Brussels-based EU super-state, even elected officials from the formerly sovereign nations claim there is nothing that can be done to stop the plot. However, controversy over the scheme in the United Kingdom is likely to pour fuel on the fire as the British people’s demands for secession grow louder.

The latest surveillance gimmick to come out of Brussels will involve what is being described as a “black box” installed on all new vehicles by next year. As usual, the self-appointed rulers of Europe claim that it is for the benefit of the ruled. EU commissars argued, for example, that their mandatory “eCall” technology would help reduce response times after car accidents. According to proponents, including multiple special interests set to profit from the mandate, the device would be able to detect when a car is in an accident and would automatically inform emergency services.

A press release from the European Commission — a sort of hybrid executive and legislative branch run by former Maoist revolutionary José Manuel Barroso — claimed that unspecified “estimates” suggested fatalities could be reduced by four percent. “In the near future, eCall will be available for everyone in the EU, and will help us mitigate the consequences of road accidents,” said Commission “Vice President” Siim Kallas, who serves as “transportation and mobility” czar. The technology, he added, “will be a major asset in our efforts to halve road fatalities by 2020.”

Critics, however, are up in arms, blasting the scheme as “Orwellian” and yet another example of “Big Brother” oppression coming from an increasingly power-hungry regime in Brussels. Among the biggest concerns expressed so far: the ongoing assault on privacy rights. Opponents worry, for example, that the scheme will be used by bureaucrats and enforcement agencies to track the movements of drivers — potentially allowing them to also fine, tax, and control Europeans at will. Other critics worry that insurance companies will have a major interest in the data, too.

The potential for widespread abuse of the system is enormous, according to activists, and the public in many countries is already upset over the privacy implications. “Motorists will not be comfortable forcibly having a black box installed which is capable of recording and transmitting their exact location when they are driving,” explained Emma Carr with Big Brother Watch after the scheme was approved in Brussels.

While EU bosses and their apparatchiks have remained relatively quiet about the implications of the tracking technology, at the national level some officials have expressed concerns about privacy, the costs, and more. The U.K. Mail on Sunday newspaper, citing official correspondence from the Department of Transport, reported that authorities in the United Kingdom oppose the policy. Among other concerns, it could lead to the “constant tracking” of vehicles, the documents show. However, it seems that the elected British officials believe they are powerless to stop the latest EU power grab.

“The basis for our opposition is that costs to the U.K. outweigh the benefits,” Transport Minister Robert Goodwill told lawmakers in a letter. “Unfortunately, there is very little support for the U.K. position and no possibility of blocking this legislation. We are working with other member states to minimize the potential burdens on manufacturers and the potential cost to consumers.... With regard to the rules on privacy and data protection, other member states have expressed similar concerns to us, about the potential for constant tracking of vehicles via the eCall system.”

Also troubling to critics is the EU’s increasingly outlandish usurpations of power in defiance of the public, national sovereignty, and individual liberty. Across the bloc, polls show that what little support there may have been for the EU has quickly evaporated. In more than a few countries, the most popular political parties are those that stand for national sovereignty. The resistance in the United Kingdom — even in the face of a slavishly pro-EU political class determined to remain in the union — has reached a boiling point, with citizens now demanding a public referendum to secede.

The latest assault by the EU comes shortly after another Brussels plot to track and control drivers was exposed, sparking a public uproar. Under that “road safety” scheme, the EU would mandate dangerous and Orwellian devices on cars that would allow authorities to remotely limit speed — at least to begin with. Critics similarly warned that the “Big Brother” speed-limiting plan was extremely dangerous, counterproductive, as well as yet another attack on freedom and common sense from out-of-touch rulers in Brussels.

Perfectly illustrating the attitude in Brussels were the celebratory statements applauding the new mandate by the tone-deaf unelected bureaucrats who now produce the vast majority of the “laws” governing Europeans. “EU-wide eCall is a big step forward for road safety,” claimed Neelie Kroes, another Commission “Vice President” who oversees the “Digital Agenda.” “When you need emergency support it's much better to be connected than to be alone.”

Similar plots have also been proposed in the United States, where they have met even more furious public resistance. There should be no doubt, however, that authorities have far more in mind than merely promoting the “common good.”

 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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