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October 18, 2007

Big Brother is Driving You

In 2009, General Motors plans to add Stolen Vehicle Slowdown to its OnStar system. This new technology will allow police, once they’ve located a car that’s been reported stolen, to remotely cut power to the engine and slow the vehicle to a stop.

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will be added to the OnStar service by default, but customers will be allowed to opt out of it.

Given the many ways this could be abused, or even hacked into by people not at all related to law enforcement, would you be completely comfortable with a system allowing outside access to your car?


  1. If I were driving on an American interstate I don’t know if I’d like the driver ahead of me suddenly losing power to his vehicle even if he had stolen it. I suppose law enforcement would be sensible enough not to use it in that circumstance, or I’d hope they’d be. (I suspect, though, that since most stolen cars end up at a chop shop within an hour or two of theft and often before the owner knows it’s been stolen, police would more likely use it to stop cars being used in the commission of other felonies.)

    But the possibility of misuse by a cracker, an abusive spouse or family member, or just by random idiots does concern me.

    Comment by Charlene — October 16, 2007 @ 7:31 am

  2. No way, I’d have that on my car.

    I can’t stand all the ‘safety’ features on cars now – like the one that won’t let your car start if you aren’t pressing the brake pedal. They don’t make my car any safer, just less reliable when they malfunction and I can’t start my car (actually happened).

    Comment by BF — October 16, 2007 @ 8:57 am

  3. Hell no. I’d definitely want to opt out of that. I don’t trust those OnStar things as it is. I’ve seen too many articles about police departments and/or the FBI asking/demanding to be given a backdoor to those types of devices to be able to eavesdrop on suspected criminals. Which of course would only ever be used to fight the terrorists and would never end up being abused in any way!

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — October 16, 2007 @ 9:05 am

  4. This is helpful and definitely a good thing. I have also heard that police forces will be using a new product to track cars in high speed pursuits.

    Comment by scott47 — October 16, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  5. I’m not sure what the issue is. Just keep it deactivated until right before the car is stolen. This way no one could abuse it when you are using it and it will still be able to be used when you need it to be.


    Comment by Pinny — October 16, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  6. If my car ever got stolen (not likely, since it’ll be about 20 years before these would be used enough to be in my price range and then nobody will want it anyway), I’d be glad I had it, but until then I’d be so paranoid it wouldn’t be worth it. I want less government and I work for one!

    Comment by Lola — October 17, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

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