Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


National's road charging proposals "wide open to abuse"

National’s proposed user-pays scheme for road users will almost inevitably become a state-controlled mass vehicle surveillance system, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who was also the former editor of a computer magazine, says any system that could reliably charge all vehicle owners for the distance travelled would almost certainly be based on satellite information.

“This is a bureaucrat’s dream. The government simply needs to pass a law requiring that each vehicle is fitted with a Global Positioning System (GPS). This system would then feed your vehicle’s current location to a computer. The computer would then work out how far you’ve travelled and deduct Road User Charges from your bank account.”

“Inevitably, a system of this kind would also become widely used by law enforcement agencies. Doubtless, these agencies would also love having the ability to switch off vehicles without the driver being able to do anything about it.

“Similar systems are already widely used by car dealers in the USA to track vehicles on hire purchase. If the customer stops paying for the hire purchase, the dealer simply uses a remote control to switch off the vehicle, leaving the owner stranded at the side of the road.”

“However, such as system could be easily abused. For example, if a group of known protesters were on their way to a demonstration, the government could simply switch their cars off remotely, so the protesters couldn’t turn up at the event.”

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“This is not some science fiction scenario, this is here and now technology. And, similar technology is already being abused here and now. In case you don’t know, your smartphone is probably tracking your every move and unscrupulous companies are exploiting the data they gather about you. You can solve this problem by leaving your smartphone behind, but you can’t escape from a GPS-based government vehicle tracking system. Such a system will gradually increase the level of surveillance to the point where every single vehicle journey you make is carefully tracked.“

“I, for one, am alarmed at this potential level of surveillance.”

Matthew-Wilson adds that a centralised surveillance system of this kind is also exceedingly vulnerable to hacking and deliberate disruption by foreign powers.

“While satellite technology is currently reliable, GPS satellites will be among the first targets in any international conflict. The government’s eyes in the sky could suddenly be out of action without notice, along with the road user charging system that relies on these satellites.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup, Critical Race Theory And A New, Weekly Music Playlist

So… Why don’t they just cut to the chase, and call it the Emirates Cup? As this column predicted several months ago, the next America’s Cup challenge is headed overseas. Here’s what Werewolf said back in March:
Emirates has made a major commitment to Portsmouth/Isle of Wight as a sailing centre of excellence – and voila, that’s where the next challenger of record is coming from, and where the next Cup contest could well be sailed. Such incredible luck for Emirates, right..? More>>


Marine: Wider Roll-out Of Cameras On Boats To Support Sustainability And Protect Marine Life

Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations... More>>


Government: Plan For Vaccine Rollout For General Population Announced

New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today... More>>


Jewish Council: New Zealand Not Immune From Rise In Antisemitism

The representative body of New Zealand Jewry, the NZ Jewish Council (NZJC), has expressed concern about the high number of antisemitic incidents in New Zealand recorded last month. Spokesperson for the NZJC, Juliet Moses, said... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>





InfoPages News Channels