Speed Reads

Big brother?

DOT wants cars to constantly broadcast their speed, location, and direction

The Department of Transportation published a document last week that "initiates rulemaking" to mandate that all cars constantly broadcast and receive "Basic Safety Messages," which should each include "the relevant elements and describe them accurately (e.g., vehicle speed; GPS position; vehicle heading; DSRC message ID, etc.)."

While the DOT insists that the data broadcast will not be used by the government to track drivers' locations and habits, this assurance may fall flat with critics in light of the last year's revelations of NSA spying practices. Additionally, many government agencies — including the IRS — already track drivers' movements with license plate readers; and many law enforcement agencies track cell phone GPS locations without even obtaining a warrant.