The GSMA has, unsurprisingly, come out in support of the EU plan to fit a mobile phone in every car, valuing each life saved at over fourteen million quid. The eCall system dials 112 (the EU-wide emergency number) after an accident in order to summon the emergency services, and the Commission reckons that it could save 2500 …
... how long before someone from the Security Services has a quiet word in their ear and persuades them to add a facility which allows them to eavesdrop on the conversations in all cars, for the public good and prevention of terrorism etc, of course...
(Naturally since every car will automatically be giving off a signal, it will also help in the introduction of road pricing too)
UK not want it
Surely the UK government wants it, along with the additional functionality to remotely order the phone to dial MI5 and report location and what is being said? Even without remote control surely MI5 would want it as everything they need to bug a 'terrorist' is already there in the car already, just needs an undectable software patch.
Sorry shouldn't I be giving them ideas?
Perhaps the GSMA cartel members should be nationalised first (or should that be "pan-nationalised" in the case of the EU?), given that their kit would be mandatory. If you have to have monopolies, at least let them be controlled by (almost) democratic institutions.
Just shove a handsfree into every car with an interface that grabs the phone and dials 112. No new phones needed. No extra contract, a handsfree in every car and a good resason to use it.
To the "EU sceptic" haters:
I take it I'm a Daily Frail reading member of Combat 18 when I say this is typical Euro bullshit? I take it that "EU will make it mandatory" does not mean they dictate our laws?
If the UK is a country in its own right this does not concern us.
EU wide road pricing anyone?
Aaah. GPS + GSM with IMEI tied to vehicle engine / registration numbers sold with the usual "Protection of the Public" message.
That would make price-per-mile Road Pricing lots easier wouldn't it.
hmmm....GPS + Radio Network on an embeded device?
This box will be completely open and transparent though right? I mean, we'll know exactly what's happening to the GPS data at all times and it will only call 112 after an accident won't it?
Nothing to worry about then, as long as it's got no way of relaying our GPS coordinates at any given time over a (badly) encrypted wireless network such as, oh I dunno, GSM to organisations and governments that ask for it and only keeps the current location in memory we'll be fine...
What's that buzzing noise? Why can I see ropes outside the windows? What was that smashing noise? wha...
you expect us to believe that?
a chance to put a GPS unit AND mobile phone to report its position, complete with a valid cover story to make it look like its for our one good - yet the UK gov are rejecting it purely on cost?
come on, we're not that stupid.
Some things need clarification I think...
here are some things I believe to be, hmmm... inacurate in the article. But despite that, I do agree with the reporter's view.
- 200m X 100 = 20bn, not 40bn
- they said they'd fit "new" cars with phones so the 200m cars figure is way too high.
- even at 40bn this year, the savings (26bn) are yearly so the project _might_ be cost effective in 2-3 years.
Anyways, nice article really.
Mine's the one without the cell phone in the pocket.
How much will it cost us all if oiks who go joy-riding, then deliberately prang the stolen car into a brick wall or ditch 'for a larf', automatically summon the emergency services ?
Will all three services automatically turn up to every call-out ?
Then there's the downside of services not being available for others whilst dealing with what turns out to be a non-emergency call.
It all sounded so great when the idea was scribbled on the back of a fag packet.
So how is this going to work exactly?
Will we be legally obliged to buy a mobile contract and keep it up-to-date?
I don't have a mobile phone for the great reason that I don't want a mobile phone.
If I buy a car, I'm forced to get one included? WTF?
UK holding out - shirley shome mishtake?
>>The GSMA has, unsurprisingly, come out in support of the EU plan to fit a mobile phone in every car, valuing each life saved at over fourteen million quid.<<
>>The Department of Health has commissioned research to help it understand what the public wants the NHS to pay for health gain in the knowledge that it has limited resources and pays for care from taxes. This estimates willingness to pay at £30 000 to £70 000 per QALY.<<
In other words Joe Public may be prepared to pay up to £70K for an (extra) year of good quality life [the actual figure the NHS decide on is not in the public domain - but is likely to be less]. So as long as each person saved by the eCall system survives more than 200 (top quality) years we are quids in.
On the other hand this might be an excellent pretext for installing surveillance and road-usage payment tracking gear on every vehicle. I would have imagined Gordo well up for this.
If it only costs 100euro (which sounds optimistic given that a stereo with an MP3 input was a £250 option on my last car) then at £120 for each automatic speeding fine it should pay for itself very quickly.
Oh -except the buyer pays for the system and the fine goes to the government.
Why stop there?
Just implant a phone in all newborns and anyone else who comes within reach. Europe invented totalitarianism (it was the Froggies, actually) and never seems far from reverting to type.
In other words...
The EU want to put a device in each car that can help save our lives in a collision, and also handily report back to whoever wants to know the location of the car at any given point....
ID cards being issued with a couple of sim cards anyone?
They should make ABS compulsory, better NCAP standards etc.
This is not preventative. It's like issuing more insulin rather than reducing sugar levels in food.
14 million per life
yet soldiers are worth 500 a piece according to the iraq compensation payouts.
how much extra on false alarms? i've seen airbags deploy when the driver forgot to handbrake and tapped a wall.....certainly ads to my never buying a new car, despite scrappage and such schemes, i dont want anyone to be able to track my route to work, what about the "ghost plate" vehicles the undercover plod use? will parliamentary vehicles have it? so mr gaddafi can track them?
so...that's how they are going to do it
I wondered how GPS monitoring of every car was going to be brought in.
At least it shouldn't be too hard to break \ take out of a new car.
Soon of course it will be made illegal to remove the locator device, because for your safety, they will have to know what you are doing and where you are at all times.
They don't need a camera in your house or car, if they know your travel patterns and location, they know if you are at work, the shops, your relatives, a location within a radius of incident "X", somewhere near terrorist suspect "Y" and can soon be alerted if you are behaving outside of your normal paramiters.
Also, I don't see how (in reality) this will save thousands of lives.
The flip side
Equipping every car with an integrated phone means that the authorities will be able to track the movement and location of every car. Enter by-the-mile taxation (not necessarily a bad idea), 24x365 speed-limit enforcement with no escape (yuk), and the state acquiring a log of everywhere you visit for the rest of your life (say goodbye to the last vestiges of privacy, and hello to guilt by data-mined association).
The acid test will be whether there's an OFF switch and if not, whether physical removal or sabotage of the phone unit causes the car to fail its MOT (or worse still, is deemed to be a criminal offense). Technically, it would be easy to design them with an OFF switch that completely disables the phone unless something causes the airbags to deploy.
Paris, because she has more to worry about being tagged and tracked than most of us.
That could get fun...
It'll be interesting to see what happens the first mass collision and all the emergency lines are jammed by simultaneous, automatic dialers!
Granted these very large incidents are rare, but speaking as someone with pretty good knowledge of emergency operations in the U.S. I could see our dispatchers getting very busy very quickly handling both auto dialers and human 911 callers.
The home-and-business version of these auto dialers are prohibited from dialing our dispatch center directly, taking advantage of state law that prohibits them unless the local emergency call answering point allows them. Due to the large number of false alarms, when one is hooked up and dials the dispatch, we send a State Trooper out who ensures the unit is physically disconnected. People can use them to dial a private alarm monitoring service for a subscription fee which weeds out most false alarms, to call someone else, call their cell phone, etc.
Does this now mean that to buy a car that we'll be forced to take out a mobile phone contract too?
I can just picture it already... "Sorry sir, it doesn't matter that you're paying £15k for the car - you've been turned down for the mobile contract".
For phone read in-car tracking device.
I had a prototype of a one these devices based on a micro linux box for security testing about 2 years ago. They have a nice feature that stores all your movements from the GPS and then send over GPRS when in network coverage. Other big brother friendly features such as remote engine kill or performance degradation (i.e. locking speeds to limit for location).
You also can have a lot of fun attacking them over the GPRS network and sending spoof GPS information back to base. I think it would be amazing to see the response you would get when your driving down the M1 and suddenly appear at the top of a mountain.
What does it cost the owner?
Presumably the car owner will be compelled to maintain a current contract on the phone? I'm sure the phone companies will be able to work out a reason why such a contract will of course have to be at a premium price.
And will the owner be charged for all the calls the phone makes automatically to relay the position of the car and everything that's said in it to GCHQ? (Once NuLab and the Daily Mail manage to point out why that is of course needed.)
Is it just me, or would it be the case that after the legislation was passed every time you buy a car you are also buying into a lifetime contract with the cell phone company for "support" at 20-40 USD a month? And of course if it's required by law and makes things "safer" that's another reason for insurance for anyone who doesn't have this wonderful safety feature to go up. Granted automakers could just attach a low cost chip and cheap mike and pass the cost along as a fixed cost to the consumer, but I can't see them NOT wanting to provide "increased functionality" for profit if the person has no choice but to buy it.
Oh, and just the tinfoil hat thing, every car wired with microphones connected to a cell that is remotely activated when the police (at least in the US) have already had such systems activated in the past to gather evidence against criminals... yea... that really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
call me Mr Cynical
So this is a plan to save lives?
"along with a GPS system to report the current location "
Is it just me, or does it seem that the real reason they want this is so that the thought police will always know where you are, where you have been, where you are going?
They will pwn your lives
Will it be like OnStar? I can see a downside to this.
I understand that interior microphones in vehicles equipped with OnStar (the US equivalent) can be legally "opened" by police, probably with some restrictions, to listen to suspected criminals in their cars discussing their nefarious plots. Whilst this might be of value to society in dealing with serious crime, given that every public official and their dog in the UK seem to have powers under RIPA to obtain communications data (not the content for most of them, yet), and also that these things generaly only ratchet one way, we might conjecture that in line with current plans to record all telephone calls in the UK, that these things will eventually be permanently switched on and all in car chat recorded centrally for our protection.
It wouldn't be hard to wire it to cancel out any noise from the Stereo masking recordings of conversation, (although once Sir Terence retires, there will be 8 Million less people listening to Radio 2 each morning), or to make the "recording" voice activated to save storage space.
If its made part of the security (anti-theft) system to prevent it being by-passed for effective operation of the car, they there's just our homes left for any attempt at privacy.
But there might be an upside. So lets not get too paranoid
Those that don't trust that info gained with this will not be missused?
Show your working
An interesting article, but what world are you living in where 2*1 = 4? (Or 200 million * 100 = 40 billion)
I assume this is an automatic system, as a manually triggered one would have little advantage over the mobile phone that everyone already owns.
So where does this system set its threshold? I've had some serious accidents (serious as in lots of mangled metal), but when I've rung the cops all they wanted to know was that everyone was okay and that details were exchanged. They didn't even bother putting in an appearance.
So I can see the police being alerted to many many accidents they wouldn't normally bother with, and probably lots and lots of charges of undue care and attention being thrown at everyone for being silly enough to bump into each other. No such thing as an accident any more.
Actually, I can see every Sainsbury's and Tesco car park packed with automatically summoned emergency vehicles!
The more suspicious of you will already be thinking about this factory fitted GPS GSM system which is but a small data packet away from being a 24/7 vehicle tracker.
SIM Free phones
There seems to be a lot of comments about contract costs but ALL GSM phones can call 112 on any available network without the SIM card being present - ie NO contract cost. Unfortunately the UK carriers won't pass the call on to the 112 operator without the SIM card present but this is a completely different problem. Presumably, if you are going to create a law to force the fitting of these special phones you will also create a law to force the UK carriers to pass on the call without a contract.
"I congratulate the mobile phone industry for answering so promptly"
Nice to know they didn't let it go to voicemail.
See how fast second hand car values rise
It will be the first time in history where older cars are going to cost double that of a new one.
In the US we already have this...
Its called OnStar, unless I'm missing something.
@Steve Evans @ AC 21:18 GMT
If this is like OnStar type systems in the US, I think this gets linked to "do the airbags deploy" and/or a similar accelerometer. You also don't need a mobile phone contract (but the system may need a separate subscription after the first 1-2 years).
They also don't send help automatically - instead someone comes on the speakerphone and asks if you need help to be sent (you can say no).
It's interesting though that I think the US system is radio/satellite based rather than using a phone. Which is useful if you crash somewhere out of mobile phone range.
No doubt that there will be law enforcement mission creep, but this does not mean this system is useless. The US system may be slightly (only slightly) better in this regard in that you get linked to a private company first, not directly to emergency services. But if people want to track your car, they probably can do this anyway. (Or they will track your phone if it's switched on, regardless of whether the car has GPS, so you may not be notably worse off with this scheme).
Big Brother Is Watching You...
If you carry a cellphone you can already be tracked by the cellphone towers. Same goes for any phone system installed in cars, no matter whether it has dialed out its registered with the network. Instantly know roughly where you are based on what tower is serving your phone. The tower has a good idea as to how far away you are, and if another tower also hears you then they know you are at one of two places. If you have been tracked then its pretty easy to eliminate one of those two positions.
Don't now for sure but expect the phone companies to be doing all this already if for no other reason than to know when to transfer you from one cell to the next.
According to those there is this right of anonymous travel which the EC already had their knickers in a twist with how member states might implement per-mile tracking for vehicles.
The way I see it they can't prevent me adding a faraday cage to my property(not specifically to the device but to the whole vehicle ;) ) and with that it would become near impossible for it to do much. I can always wire up anything I need to be specific in such a way.
Britain Malta ane Ireland hodling out
The Dark Lord of Business will not permit that for long.
The Dark Lord's word is law.*
Or a Statutory Instrument as they call them.
@ Hidden Costs
"It all sounded so great when the idea was scribbled on the back of a fag packet."
Not a chance. Fag packets are known for producing good designs that work. I bet you a GSM jammer to a doughnut this was Powerpoint..
It's a fantastic idea. I can see this work in London where GSM capacity is already so maxed out it breaks Critical National Infrastructure conditions - it'll make the effect of a successful bomb even more interesting by fully automatically jamming the emergency services.
Oh, and as for monitoring, I'm sure than any MP supporting this system will, of course, have this system installed first and make the data available where his/her tax payer sponsored limousine has been - after all, they're paying for it. AFAIK they have nothing to hide, no?
Even if it would be a plausible idea and it would dial a special number to avoid emergency service DDOS, I would probably only trust the Swiss to design it so it actually does as it says on the tin/specs. Every other so-called democratic government has shown themselves at their Stalinistic best over the last decade or so and have lost the trust of their citizens to act in their interest.
Anyway, I have to go, someone's buzzing my house with a helicopter. No, it's not a black one :-)
Very wrong math.
The math assumes that the phones will only dial 112.
That is not likely to be the case for most manufacturers. Ford is already dabbling into realtime telemetry, other carmakers are also looking at it.
The logistics of just one factory recall (turn on that "engine check/service light" remotely instead of locating all customers) pay back the investment for the car maker. Add to that the use in roadside assistance, etc and you get pretty good financials. For example the cost savings for AA from knowing your actual diagnostic codes when called are likely to be in the 20£+ range per year. Add to that pay-as-you-drive insurance (Aviva). Add to that...
And so on.
gps/gsm in every car
Crafty these bureaucrats, eh? How better to sugar the bitter pill of continuous positional tracking of every vehicle in Europe than playing the "saving lives" card? Big Brother must be smiling somewhere on high.
Merc has offered this for years...
...and if I remember, it goes off when the airbag does, (but doesn't record the voices of the screaming occupants burning to death) and I thought (back at the turn of the century) it wasn't a bad idea. I've also got tracker fitted in case the car gets nicked. But these are personal choices.
There is no effing way in hell am I going to accept being told to wire up to the "grid" on the off chance I have a crash, no matter how much spin is put on it.
Sorry Officer, can't say why it doesnt work
A good two or three coats of aluminium paint (or even foil) over the antenna, followed by a flat black to make the work inconspicuous; that should do it.
sometimes you make me smile and sometimes.....
"I congratulate the mobile phone industry for answering so promptly. By backing Europe's in-car emergency call system, they have shown their social responsibility and openness to innovative applications of communications technology in daily life."
Social responsibility? sometimes you make me laugh, this is a fucking big door the mobile phone industry has wedged it's foot into, once all cars are fitted with this the possibilities are limitless. It needn't cost the "subscriber" anything.
Imagine if you will google tracker, find out where your partner is at any given time or street view with real time images (if you are going to fit a microphone inside the cabin then why not a small unobtrusive camera). Don't forget of course all those other applications already mentioned (road pricing, road "safety", "security" uses etc, etc)
No, the phones wont require you to take out a contract, just read your new car finance agreement VERY carefully when you sign it, look for the part of the T&C's which give the right to your privacy away!
@Graham Marsden (1st comment)
I thought that it sounded alot like the M15 covert monitoring in every taxi in london during 2012 story i read a wee while back.
rozzers will love this, assuming of course they get access to position info (after obligatory uproar by Daily Fail/The Shun following child kidnap by paedophile)
on a side note... if it's mandated on new cars (initially, until pay-per-mile taxation catches on or old cars are deemed environmentally inept and banned/taxed to oblivion to allow govt to meet carbon reduction quotas), old 2nd hand cars will skyrocket in value ^^
...mines the 1960s Mini Cooper followed by black helicopters...
*wonders how resilient the system will be to cloned GSM cards/trackers*
Backwards Government Thinking
Once again the Governments are trying to solve a symptom not cure the disease. Make driving tests more rigorous, improve the required safety of vehicle systems and FFS put some of the taxes us motorists pay back onto the roads!
It's like the banking fiasco again. Badger Darling gives everybody's money to the banks to stop them going under, then wonders why nobody is spending anything...
Is a requisite of a career in politics a total and appalling lack of common sense? Egads, man.
Bring it in gradually
Require every official EE and parliamentary vehicle to be fitted with it first. Only once that has been done should it be rolled out to the plebs.
Results of that will make the MP's expenses excuses look tame...
drivers don't own mobile phones, right?
Too Big Brother-ish?
It seems that microphones that pick up screams could also pick up other talking in the car. So, one could be discussing a business deal, while another is trying to steal/sabotage the deal. How do they prevent other people from intercepting the data sent by the microphones?