Patterico's Pontifications


Eye in the Sky on the Limey Guy

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 12:45 pm

A while back Patterico covered California’s plan to put a GPS chip in our cars that will track our position and charge us a user fee for every mile we drive within the state. There were also plans at the Federal/DOT level to implement the same sort of thing. Over at the Jawa Report a couple weeks ago, I covered a similar initiative in Oregon in quite a bit of detail. (The link to patterico’s original piece is in there).

If this still seems far-fetched, consider now that England is on track to implement a similar program in a couple of years. That’s fine for a surveillance-happy society that has no objection to state-sponsored scanners prowling their neighborhoods to monitor whether they are watching TV without paying their exorbitant Baathist Broadcasting Company tax. But I don’t see it flying here.

Dude, this is America. We love our cars because they give us freedom. The (amazingly talented) country guitarist Junior Brown has a great song about his car called “Freedom Machine”, about exactly that. You can go where you want, when you want, with whom you want. If you don’t like the town you’re in, you can pack up and bug out. Cars have been responsible for amazing social changes and much of the dynamism of American society.

And yet the Supreme Court has already held that cars and roadways are “pervasively regulated”, that we have little expectation of privacy in our cars, and so there’s probably not much stopping a statist court from blessing this incipient big Brotherism.

In other words, this will be unpopular with the public, but fine with our black-robed judicial betters, and probably with our tax-happy legislators too. Welcome to 1984.

8 Responses to “Eye in the Sky on the Limey Guy”

  1. I have it from a fairly reliable source that with one tweak said chip can calculate and relay driving speed information for the purpose of taxing i.e. like a traffic citation those drivers who drive over the speed limit. (Not that that kind of thing occurs in California.) This is similar to the low tech proposal a few years back by some Florida wacko-congressman who wanted the little white tickets given on the Florida Turnpike (toll road) to print out the time you entered; the theory being that when you exited and paid the toll collector could determine whether you averaged over 55 mph by calculating the time you took to get from exit x to exit y and charge you a fee for z many miles over 55 mph. The whole charade was thrown out when someone reminded Mr. Wacko that some of the exits on the Turnpike were in Palm Beach County and there naturally wasn’t anyone available who could be relied upon to calculate speed or anything else that had to be determined off of a rectangular ticket. I think the congressman’s name was Chad something-or-other which killed it forever (thankfully).

    Arnold Ziffle (63a84e)

  2. 1984 comes 21 years late

    The purported reason for this gross invasion of privacy is to make a road tax proportional to the amount of driving people do. But a gas tax accomplishes the same thing, with the additional benefit of encouraging fuel-efficient cars. Another use woul…

    W.C. Varones (59ce3a)

  3. This is an outrage. The gas tax accomplishes the same thing, with the added benefit of encouraging fuel-efficient cars. These left-wing a**hole legislators have sold out both the environment and civil liberties in their greed for more taxes.

    W.C. Varones (4d1e35)

  4. How is any state going to know if I’m driving without the GPS device? What about travel from state-to-state? How will older cars be retrofitted? What about malfunctions of the GPS system in cars so equipped? And what about mass rebellion, such as we had with the 55 mph limit? It ain’t happenin’ here.

    joe (b75f66)

  5. Joe–

    State to state travel is exactly why it has to be GPS and we can’t merely report the miles like my friend in NZ does for their mileage tax. It also can tell when you’re driving on private roads and not state highways.

    I hope you’re right about the resistance to this, but if you follow my link to the Jawa Report and then back to Patterico, you’ll see it’s already underway here.

    See Dubya (13ab1e)

  6. A National Road Pricing (Taxing ) Scheme

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  7. A Trackback Post:

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  8. I live in a county in Tennessee that as yet does not require inspection for emissions. And if one’s car is older that 25 years, such inspection is not required in the counties that do test for emissions. How can the state require that I install a GPS system in my 1976 Ford pick-up. No newer emission standards were ever mandated for older vehicles–ever, nor safety standards either. One does not have to install air bags in his 1985 LTD. Will there be mandatory inspections for functioning GPS systems in all vehicles? Who’s going to pay? What if I disarm the system after inspection? How would the state know? Will the police have GPS detectors? Will I have a GPS detector detector? Will the police have GPS detector detector detectors? There’s no end to it. There have been attempts at clunker laws (the buying up of all older cars), but these were fought tooth and nail by the auto enthusiast industry, a huge voting power in the this country, something far beyond anything elsewhere. We are Americans, after all, individualistic as hell and proud of it. Big Brother is going to have a hard time tracking all those older vehicles.

    joe (b75f66)

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