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.