Think you control your car? Think again. The police may decide when your car engine is killed in future. Senior EU officials, with Home Office support, have allegedly signed off proposals to allow the police to remotely turn off your car engine if it believes your vehicle is being used for crime.
Several politicians are appalled, citing civil liberty worries. Could it happen - and how soon?
More surveillance"The project will work on a technological solution, that can be a 'build in standard' for all cars that enter the European market," said a restricted document, quoted in today's Telegraph. The devices could be integrated into all new cars by the end of this decade.
For the police, it could mean the potential for high speed police chases is reduced. The information leaked to the Telegraph originates from a police powers and civil liberties watchdog, Statewatch.
AA spokesperson Luke Bodset slammed the idea: "Doing it remotely," he told AOL Money, "from an operations room means that the controller can't see the context in which the car is being stopped. So it could be extremely dangerous."
"Draconian"The idea hasn't gone down well with some politicians. Ukip leader Nigel Farage said such a move was a "draconian imposition". The could likely support a fast-growing theft hacking industry that is already successfully bypassing car security technology, quickly, cheaply.
Last year Which? warned that thieves in the Midlands were nicking new 'keyless' BMWs within just a few minutes thanks to reprogramming gadgets - some allegedly bought online from just £70.
New cars increasingly vulnerable"Perhaps we should go back to old fashioned ignition systems," said Which? at the time, "where the steering can be locked when the car is parked. At least with these, the car is immobilised when the key isn't in the ignition and no electronic gadgetry can be used to unlock them."
Modern cars are highly susceptible to tampering given so much of their operations are controlled electronically, from the accelerator to brakes to 'infotainment'. Many contain 30-plus electronic control unit (ECUs) while top-end cars, like the BMW 7 Series, can have 120 ECUs-plus under the bonnet.
Last year the BBC's Radio 4 You and Yours also covered the issue, see 90 seconds into the program - the problem was particularly prevalent in the Midlands.