Big Brother or Big Help? OnStar 2009 can stop moving cars via satellite

General Motors and its partner, OnStar, plan to introduce a new feature to GM vehicles in 2009: the ability for police to remotely stop a moving car if it has been reported as stolen. While the move adds another weapon against grand theft auto, it also opens doors that are cause for concern.

Starting in 2009, police may be able to stop vehicles in their tracks with a simple phone call. The technology would come as part of something that most of us are already familiar with: General Motors’ OnStar system. GM and OnStar demoed a prototype today of the new feature, called Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, which will be targeted at… well, stolen vehicles on the road. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will come as part of OnStar’s newest hardware, which will be available in some 1.7 million vehicles in 2009.

“We look forward to having technologies like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available to aid our officers in apprehending suspected car thieves and keeping our officers, highways and citizens safe,” said the national VP of the Fraternal Order of Police, David Hiller. “Since 1996, OnStar has assisted the law enforcement community by helping to locate stolen vehicles.”

The OnStar system currently performs a number of useful functions that we’ve heard so much about on TV commercials. It is often used to locate lost or stolen vehicles via GPS, can locate customers immediately in the event of a car crash, and call 911. It also allows customers to call in to have the car unlocked if they get accidentally locked out. (Anyone want to take bets on this being the most-used OnStar feature?) GM says that it currently receives about 700 requests per month to help find stolen vehicles.

ars technia

This entry was posted in Bill of Rights, Computer, From the 51st State, Police State and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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