Should E.U. Police Be Given Darth Vader-Like Powers to Stop Cars Remotely?


West Midlands Police \ Wikimedia

An European Union (E.U.) working group is considering giving police remote car-stopping technology in an attempt to eliminate high-speed car chases. Nothing says creepy like police equipped with removed, quasi-telekinetic powers resembling Darth Vader's. 

The plan requires a "built in standard" for the E.U. car market to be implemented by the end of the decade. In other words, all new vehicles will require the installation of a complimentary car-stopping technological device.

Police will monitor videos from removed control rooms. They will have the ability to shut off a car's ignition from their disconnected headquarters.

In December, Statewatch, a non-profit watchdog group, uncovered the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) document that describes the new plan.  The ENLETS document reads:

In most cases the police are unable to chase the criminal due to the lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely.

While proposed technology could potentially improve road safety and hobble runaway cars, the benefits of prevent car chases doesn't necessarily outweigh costs to car manufacturers and cuts to civil liberties. Tony Bunyan, Director of Smartwatch, told The Telegraph:

"Let's have some evidence that this is a problem, and then let's have some guidelines on how this would be used."

E.U.'s Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) signed off on it, meaning, as The Telegraph explains, "The project has the support of senior British Home Office civil servants and police officers."

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, called the measure "incredible" and a "draconian imposition," and issued a rallying cry for political retaliation.

It's hard to imagine an idea like this remaining under wraps. It could inspire U.S. police, who have considered a variety of controversial police-empowering tech like GPS-tracking bullets, and psychic arrests made imaginable by Big Data and NSA bulk data collection.