Mandatory “Vehicle to Vehicle” Communications Coming to U.S. Cars

The vision of ‘talking’ cars that avoid crashes is well on the way to becoming a reality. And we’re not just talking about cars talking to cars, but about cars talking to bikes, trucks talking to motorcycles, and even buses talking to pedestrians. This promises to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our nation’s roads while unleashing a new wave of innovation from advanced traffic management systems and smart mobility apps to real-time traffic, transit and parking information.

- Scott Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Worried about “pre-crime?” What about “pre-crash?”

The geniuses at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS) are so concerned about your “safety,” they have decided to take it into their own hands and make it mandatory that your car wirelessly communicate with other vehicles on the road. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx went so far as to say the technology could save “thousands of lives and even prevent accidents in the first place.” The concept of “pre-crash” has been born.

As in so many other aspects of life, there is a top down push to remove all control from the individual to the collective (recall the MSNBC host who proclaimed children don’t belong to their parents), typically justified within the content of the “war on terror,” and always justified with “it’s for your own good.” Apparently, we aren’t capable of making our own choices in anything any more, including something as simple as driving a car.

This push to exert control within individual vehicles is nothing new and appears to be a global phenomenon.  For instance, just last week I posted an article titled: The EU May Mandate a “Remote Stopping Device” in All Cars for Police Use.

Now we learn from The Detroit News that:

Washington— The U.S. Transportation Department said Monday it plans to propose requiring all new cars and trucks to eventually communicate with one another, which could one day help reduce up to 80 percent of crash deaths.

But under the tentative timetable laid out, automakers aren’t likely to be required to install the in-vehicle communication devices until around 2020 — and even then, the devices will be phased in.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will begin working on a proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication in future cars and trucks. He said he hopes to propose the regulation by the time the Obama administration leaves office in January 2017. NHTSA gives automakers at least 18 months of lead time before mandating new technology.

Foxx said at a news conference the technology could save “thousands of lives and even prevent accidents in the first place.”

Acting NHTSA chief David Friedman said the technology is a “game changer” and “nothing short of revolutionary.”

Um, sorry but if this is such a “gamer changer” and “revolutionary” why not just put it out there and see if the market adopts it. If it is as wonderful as Mr. Friedman claims, why does it need to be mandatory. No one made Bitcoin mandatory, yet it is being adopted because it genuinely is revolutionary. This guy’s statement is completely idiotic.

But major challenges need to be addressed: including ensuring that the devices would be secure — to prevent hackers couldn’t take control of the signals.

Hahaha, ok good luck with that. Just ask Target for some tips.

NHTSA also expects to decide soon whether to require future cars to have active collision avoidance systems — like automatic braking that halts a vehicle about to strike a stopped vehicle in front of it. Those systems are currently on many luxury cars.

Yeah, what could go wrong…

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The EU May Mandate a “Remote Stopping Device” in All Cars for Police Use

Well this sounds like one of the worst ideas I have heard of in a long time. Naturally, it would emerge from the EU, the sorriest excuse for a fake government the world has ever seen.

While I have reported previously on regulatory efforts to put all sorts of invasive mandatory devices in U.S. automobiles (see my piece from October of last year Big Brother is Coming to Your Car), this idea from the EU take things to a whole other level of insanity.

From the BBC:

A device that would enable police to stop vehicles remotely is being considered by an EU-wide official working group, it has emerged.

The feasibility of such technology is being examined by members of the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (Enlets).

The technology could impact on both road safety and civil liberties.

Civil liberties? What are those?

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What Happens in Vegas, Doesn’t Stay in Vegas – New Street Lights Can Record Audio and Video

The Intellistreets system has finally come to the corridors of Las Vegas. So what is Intellistreets?

On its website, the system is described as “the only wireless information and control network for sustainability, security and entertainment.” Even more amusing, the company that owns the Intellistreets system is rather appropriately called Illuminating Concepts. The best part is that city officials claim “right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording device.”

This is far from the first time we have learned about the installation of devices that can record audio and video being surreptitiously put in public places. I covered this late last year with regard to how the Department of Homeland Security was using grants to fund the placement of such devices on buses in my piece: Public Buses Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations. 

Now from CNET:

Las Vegas, you see, has invested in Intellistreets. These aren’t streets that carry you along, so that you don’t have to put one foot in front of the other.

Instead, this is a lighting system that, as MyNews3 reported, enjoys “all sorts of fancy features.”

These lights can broadcast messages and play music. Which sounds very Vegas.

However, they have other aspects: they can shoot video and record sound.

This being Vegas, you will understand the words of Neil Rohleder of the city’s Public Works Department: “We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.”

But what kind of experience are they truly developing? The company behind Intellistreets, Illuminating Concepts has as its motto: “Assisting in the Creation of Memorable Environments since 1981.” The word “memorable” might interest some.

Las Vegas public works Director Jorge Cervantes told MyNews3 that this was all entirely innocent: “Right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording device. It’s just to provide output out there, not to get any feed or video feed coming back.”

Indeed, the explanatory video of how the system works spends most of its time presenting a compelling case for its excellence.

Near the end, however, there is this phrase: “Intellistreets also enables a myriad of homeland security features.”

This is what they look like.

Enjoy Big Brother Vegas.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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The Definitive Chart on How to Identify a Terrorist

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article titled:  You Know You Are a Conspiracy Theorist If…

It proved a useful description of the varied afflictions that might overcome your fellow man on the path toward becoming a sentient human being. These include critical thinking, the enjoyment of nature and the distrust of mainstream media.

Well now we have the United States Government Terrorist Identification Chart. This should further aid you in identifying if there are enemies in your midst. Pay close attention serfs.

Terrorist chart

Great job to whoever created this.

In Liberty,
Mike

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Patriot Act Author Prepares Strong Bill to Rein in NSA Abuses…Calls for Prosecution of James Clapper

In an interesting twist of irony, one of the Congressman most instrumental in the destruction of civil liberties in these United States due to his authorship of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), is now leading the charge to rein in NSA abuses. His disgust with the NSA became clear back in early June when he wrote an impassioned letter to Attorney General Eric Holder criticizing the illegal NSA activity happening behind the scenes. The key point here is that Mr. Sensenbrenner strongly believes that these guys are misinterpreting the legislation he wrote to justify everything they are doing. As such, he and others are proposing legislation to make it crystal clear what is and what is not appropriate surveillance.

Not only that, he is also calling for the prosecution of James Clapper the current Director of National Intelligence, who perjured himself in front of Congress earlier this year. Mr. Sensenbrenner said:

Oversight only works when the agency that oversight is directed at tells the truth, and having Mr Clapper say he gave the least untruthful answer should, in my opinion, have resulted in a firing and a prosecution.

This guy means business. More from the Guardian:

The conservative Republican who co-authored America’s Patriot Act is preparing to unveil bipartisan legislation that would dramatically curtail the domestic surveillance powers it gives to intelligence agencies.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who worked with president George W Bush to give more power to US intelligence agencies after the September 11 terrorist attacks, said the intelligence community had misused those powers by collecting telephone records on all Americans, and claimed it was time “to put their metadata program out of business”.

His imminent bill in the House of Representatives is expected to be matched by a similar proposal from Senate judiciary committee chair Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. It pulls together existing congressional efforts to reform the National Security Agency in the wake of disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It seeks to limit the collection of phone records to known terrorist suspects; to end “secret laws” by making courts disclose surveillance policies; to create a special court advocate to represent privacy interests; and to allow companies to disclose how many requests for users’ information they receive from the USA. The bill also tightens up language governing overseas surveillance to remove a loophole which it has been abused to target internet and email activities of Americans.

In July, a temporary measure to defund the NSA bulk collection programme was narrowly defeated in a 217 to 205 vote in the House, but Sensenbrenner said the appetite for greater privacy protections had only grown since.

Instead, the main opposition to Sensenbrenner and Leahy’s twin-pronged effort is likely to come from the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, who is supportive of the NSA but who has proposed separate legislation focusing on greater transparency and checks rather than an outright ban on bulk collection.

Of course Feinstein is going to push to block real NSA restrictions, she is one of the most authoritarian members of Congress, not to mention married to a gigantic crony capitalist, fraud artist. 

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What’s in Your Xbox? A Lot of Surveillance Capabilities

Attention all gamers.  There’s something you may want to be aware of before you plug in that new Xbox One.  Apparently, there are a lot of Big Brother features embedded into the system, so much so that that Germany’s privacy chief, Peter Schaar, is raising serious concerns. From Slate:

The complaint stems from the latest version of the motion-sensing Kinect technology. The Kinect device designed for the Xbox One can monitor users’ movements with a camera that sees in the dark, picks up voice commands with a microphone, and reads your heart rate using infrared cameras that track blood flow underneath the skin. Because the device is connected to the Internet, malicious hackers could potentially hijack the console and use it for spying.  In addition, Microsoft has filed a patent that suggests it is interested in using Kinect to count the number of people in a room in order to charge each person for providing pay-per-user content. The patent outlines how a camera could be used with face and gesture recognition as part of a Kinect-style system to enforce “age and identity restrictions” on certain kinds of content, effectively granting copyright holders virtual access to private dwellings, as Wired described it.

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How the FBI Wants to Penalize Internet Companies for Providing “Too Much” Security

Remember my recent post titled: Former FBI Agent: All Phone Conversations are Recorded and Stored?  Well now they now want to ensure doing the same on the internet is as easy as possible.  The latest proposal by the FBI, which would require companies to provide a backdoor for the feds to spy on American citizens on the internet, has been covered extensively in the mainstream media over the past couple of weeks, first in the Washington Post and then later in the New York Times.  It centers around this push to make communications on the internet “wiretap capable” and would impose fines of $25,000 per day for companies that do not comply with Big Brother.  Julian Sanchez of Wired has written and excellent article explaining how this proposal would not only crush privacy rights of law abiding citizens, but would also help cyber criminals, enable totalitarian governments, make the internet less secure and stifle the remnants of innovation that remain in the economy.  Oh, and unsurprisingly, Obama backs the proposal.  My favorite excerpts:

The FBI has some strange ideas about how to “update” federal surveillance laws: They’re calling for legislation to penalize online services that provide users with too much security.

I’m not kidding. The proposal was revealed in The Washington Post last week — and a couple days ago, a front-page story in The New York Times reported the Obama administration is preparing to back it.

While it’s not yet clear how dire the going-dark scenario really is, the statutory “cure” proposed by the FBI — with fines starting at $25,000 a day for companies that aren’t wiretap capable — would surely be worse than the disease.

The FBI’s misguided proposal would impose costly burdens on thousands of companies (and threaten to entirely kill those whose business model centers on providing highly secure encrypted communications), while making cloud solutions less attractive to businesses and users. It would aid totalitarian governments eager to spy on their citizens while distorting business decisions about software design. Perhaps worst of all, it would treat millions of law-abiding users with legitimate security needs as presumed criminals — while doing little to hamper actual criminals.

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Guess What’s Hidden in the Immigration Bill? A National Biometric Database for Citizens

Oh just another eight hundred page “bipartisan” bill that nobody will read,  mainstream media will refuse to cover, and that will merely further destroy any remnants of freedom left in these United States.  Never forget the George Carlin quote on bipartisanship:

“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”

From Wired:

The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.

Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf)  is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.

This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.

“It starts to change the relationship between the citizen and state, you do have to get permission to do things,” said Chris Calabrese, a congressional lobbyist with the American Civil Liberties Union. “More fundamentally, it could be the start of keeping a record of all things.”

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Mayor Bloomberg on Drones: “Oh it’s Big Brother. Get Used to it”

While hosting his weekly radio show this past Friday, Your Royal Highness Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained to the serfs of NYC that privacy is dead and that you just “can’t keep the tide” of the surveillance state from coming in.  His quotes perfectly demonstrate the attitude he takes toward his subjects and are quite revealing.  For instance:

“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it.  It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different.  And you can to some extent control, but you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”

“The argument against using automation, it’s this craziness– oh, it’s Big Brother. Get used to it.”

As if that isn’t bad enough, it also become 100% crystal clear that this guy wants to fill the skies of NYC with “freedom birds.”  He sees absolutely no problem with it at all.  In his own words:

“But what’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building? I mean intellectually I have trouble making a distinction. And you know you’re gonna have face recognition software.  People are working on that.”

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The Really, Really Creepy Thing About “Google Glass”

Google glass.  Just the latest breakthrough technology that everyone seems to be talking about.  I’m not a tech savvy guy and for much of my life I’ve been a pretty late adopter of new technologies, but the big brother concerns associated with the Google Glass seem worth highlighting.  From Mark Hurst:

Google Glass might change your life, but not in the way you think. There’s something else Google Glass makes possible that no one – no one – has talked about yet, and so today I’m writing this blog post to describe it.

The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them. I’ll give an easy example. Your one-on-one conversation with someone wearing Google Glass is likely to be annoying, because you’ll suspect that you don’t have their undivided attention. And you can’t comfortably ask them to take the glasses off (especially when, inevitably, the device is integrated into prescription lenses). Finally – here’s where the problems really start – you don’t know if they’re taking a video of you.

Now pretend you don’t know a single person who wears Google Glass… and take a walk outside. Anywhere you go in public – any store, any sidewalk, any bus or subway – you’re liable to be recorded: audio and video. Fifty people on the bus might be Glassless, but if a single person wearing Glass gets on, you – and all 49 other passengers – could be recorded. Not just for a temporary throwaway video buffer, like a security camera, but recorded, stored permanently, and shared to the world.

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