Bill Would Give U.S. Government ‘Kill Switch’ in All New Cars

A piece of legislation that was quietly included in the infrastructure bill signed by Biden would give the U.S. government access to a ‘kill switch’ linked to law enforcement in all new vehicles from 2026.

Under a section in the bill that talks about ‘impaired driving technology’, the new system would “passively monitor the performance of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

If a blood alcohol level above the limit is detected, the system would “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation.”

In other words, a kill switch.

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“Perhaps the worst part about the kill switch is that it would have a backdoor, allowing the police and other law enforcement agencies access,” writes Ken Macon. “The speculation is that a warrant would not be needed to access the kill switch. The other problem with backdoors is that they are accessible to hackers.”

The definition of ‘driver impairment’ could also be applied in a more vague sense, opening the door for all kinds of abuse.

It’s not inconceivable that in the future, such schemes could be linked to Chinese-style social credit score programs which punish people who express the ‘wrong’ opinions’ by limiting their access to their own vehicle.

The likelihood of this would be heightened if transport move towards a system of communal renting of vehicles, where a certain personal rating has to be met before a customer is allowed to use such services.

As we previously highlighted, starting this summer, all new cars sold in the EU will by law contain a ‘black box’ accessible by authorities that records driving data.

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