back to article Daft draft anti-car-hack law could put innocent drivers away for life

Two state senators in Michigan, US, have proposed a set of laws that promise life imprisonment for anyone fiddling with a car's software. Security researchers are crying foul because the rules as they stand effectively outlaw not just hacker hijackers but also legitimate tinkering with engine and dashboard electronics. The …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Oh dear lord, more fecking idiots writing laws on stuff they have no clue. Can we make them go sit in the "Stupid Corner" with Feinstein and her ilk? Luckily that law would only apply in Michigan. But monkey see, monkey do, other states will be right behind them.

    1. Woza
      FAIL

      We're going to need a bigger corner soon...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        "We're going to need a bigger corner soon..."

        Just send them off to the four corners of the Earth.

        Being an oblate spheroid, it might take them some time to find the first one.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Politicians write laws on things of which they have no clue all the time. Nearly all of the laws they make on any topic are like this!

      It's been said that when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail, and the legislator's hammer is the making of laws. No matter what the issue, they just know that the world will be better if they make some laws about it, whether they truly understand it or not (and it's almost always not). Does anyone really think politicians have better understanding of things they make policy about other than tech? The only skill that we know most politicians have is the ability to manipulate people, as that's how they were elected in the first place. Anything else? They seldom understand any of it-- and they don't know (or care) that they don't understand it, which is what makes them even more dangerous.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        "They seldom understand any of it-- and they don't know (or care) that they don't understand it, which is what makes them even more dangerous." -- Updraft102 [my emph]

        This is the key point. Nobody expects legislators to be experts in everything. The truly worrying this is that they have so many resources at their disposal to learn the things they need to know, and so much facility to consult, and so many of them still behave like this.

        1. billse10

          "Nobody expects legislators to be experts in everything. The truly worrying this is that they have so many resources at their disposal to learn the things they need to know, and so much facility to consult"

          and yet they choose not to listen to those they could, listening only to focus groups & journalists .. and its so daft it could only be either a deliberate choice or the sort of incompetence that should see them in court ... and as far as expertise in anything goes, it's clearly lacking ....but these two are hardly the only politicians to be like ghats, are they. ... idiots .....

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            I don't know what's worse. When the numpty congress critters write the stupid legislation or when they let the lobbyists write it. Of course if it gets a snappy title then every one of them will vote for it without reading it as happened with the Patriot Act to name just one.

    3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Doh

      Ignoring the absurdly wide scope of the law for the moment, wouldn't it be more sensible to make the law prevent manufacturers from selling cars with glaring security holes in them in the first place.

      It would be somewhat easier to enforce, since there are far fewer manufacturers than hackers, and they know who they all are and where they live.

  2. raving angry loony

    Car lobby?

    Wondering how strong the car lobby is in that state? Wonder if this is just the latest tactic in the claim by some nitwits that since the car has software, you don't actually own it but are only licensing it, and they can therefore tell you what to do with it, when, and how?

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150421/23581430744/gm-says-that-while-you-may-own-your-car-it-owns-software-it-thanks-to-copyright.shtml

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Car lobby?

      Seems Detroit, Michigan was the auto manufacturing capital of the US at one time...

      ;)

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Car lobby?

        Well, the Detroit area is still home to the Big 3 as they have their main office there. I think some of the foreign car makers have put their US Headquarters there also. So yes, there's probably just a wee bit of lobbying going on....

        1. billse10

          Re: Car lobby?

          "there's probably just a wee bit of lobbying going on.."

          Of course: you can almost here the conversation among the Car execs?

          "if any potential competition is going to rely on self-driving or just "clever" cars, let's cripple the scope for creativity & innovation in the automotive software sector ..... go find me a politician who is gullible enough to fall for it ..."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Car lobby?

            let's cripple the scope for creativity & innovation in the automotive software sector ....

            The driver for this is (as you'd expect) money. Even now, there's optional extras that are enabled through software (such as those rather pointless "steering" foglights. My VW group car has foglights, all the necessary sensors and switching, but because I didn't pay for that option, the configuration file has something along the lines of "steeringfoglighten=nicht". Some enthusiasts have hacked the software and it can be made to turn on this facility, and other things that VW want people to pay for. My favourite absurdity is that the rear foglights are in the clusters on eacdh side. But even though the wiring is there, the reflector is there, even a bulb is fitted, the nearside foglight is disabled through software on the cheaper variants.

            And the car makers are worried that in future more and more capability will be standard on the car (to reduce component count and production complexity) and enabled or disabled through software configuration. But even though the buyers will have paid for all the parts, if they haven't "paid" for the right to have the capability turned on, the makers want to make sure they can't enable it.

            1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Car lobby?

              @Ledswinger

              Dual rear red foglamps are called 'Brake Lights'.

              I've followed cars with such hacks. They're annoying and dangerous.

              1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                Re: Car lobby?

                @jeffypooh The reason for all your downvotes is that you're factually incorrect. It's not a hack, it's a perfectly normal set of rear fogs. There are rules about the placement deliberately to prevent confusion with brake lamps.

                1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Car lobby?

                  Thank you for the attempted explanation.

                  I've a Mercedes E-class; the single rear fog lamp is immediately adjacent to the left (Canada) brake light. If I had dual rear fog lights, there's no 'placement' distinction at all from the brake lites. The *only* distinction would be the middle 3rd Brake light, but that's not trustworthy due to older cars not having it. Keep in mind the fog.

                  The Child-driven Owner-modified (often-BuMWipes) that I've seen with dual rear brake lights similarly had no distinctive placement. The dual rear fog lights were indistinguishable from brake lights. The symmetry was pleasing, but the overall effect was negative.

                  Please keep in mind that I'm referring to owner-installed symmetry-enhancing additional bulb hacks.

                  They're immediately adjacent to the brake lights. There's no 'placement'.

                  YMMV.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Car lobby?

              Some options can be disallowed by statute and will be locked out for vehicles sold into those regions. I find it handy that the wiring, connectors and other fittings are in place even if an option isn't installed. A quick trip to the junk yard and I can buy the missing components for a pittance compared to what I would have been charged for the "package" of options I would have had to get for the one thing that I might find useful. It makes a lot of sense for auto manufacturers to have all of the wiring and connections in place since the added cost is very low, it decreases parts counts and dealers can fit many of the options to suit a buyer.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Car lobby?

                A quick trip to the junk yard and I can buy the missing components for a pittance....

                For a car using yesterday's technology yes. But modern cars increasingly use Canbus electrical systems. This controls how things work, and it does stop retrofit of certain parts. So I can buy the car new with LED lights as an expensive option, or Xenon headlights, but if I retrofit the parts (junkyard or brand new from the dealer) the system will as a minimum persistently nag me that I have a failed bulb, or simply refuse to operate the "unknown" piece of kit.

                To be fair, there's some considerable upside in the overall package of the best modern cars (safer, faster, more economical, more reliable, more comfortable, less maintenance), but the price of that does appear to be that the owner has less opportunity to tinker. And coming back to the original point, you pay for something, but there's an extra charge to use it.

                Another example is the ECU mapping. More than a few vehicles use ECU mapping to offer different performance from the same engine. The buyer of the cheap variants aren't allowed to access the higher performance. On older models you could have the car "chipped" to remap the ECU, but now that's far more difficult as the electronics are more complex and more integrated. You might say that chipping was a bad thing (insurance, emissions, safety) but that's not the issue - I'm just pointing up another example where you pay for something, but you only get to use it if you've paid extra for it to be configured as "on".

                1. Awil Onmearse

                  Re: Car lobby?

                  "This controls how things work, and it does stop retrofit of certain parts. So I can buy the car new with LED lights as an expensive option, or Xenon headlights, but if I retrofit the parts (junkyard or brand new from the dealer) the system will as a minimum persistently nag me that I have a failed bulb, or simply refuse to operate the "unknown" piece of kit."

                  That's what "recoding" software is for *ahem* "allegedly".

                  Also, VW/Audi for example use QNX RTOS Getting into the guts of that is a piece of piss with a disk image, VirtualBox and a disassembler.

                  My A4 onboard computer is running quite happily (and faster!) with an IDE->mSata conversion that I can replace for pennies instead of a 2nd mortgage to VAG in the case of failure.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Car lobby?

      "Wondering how strong the car lobby is in that state?" etc,

      yeah, maybe THIS is the new 'D.R.M.'.

      And once again, laws like *THIS* don't stop crime, they just unnecessarily impede the otherwise-law-abiding.

  3. 404 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Precedent

    Need to have legal precedent set before self-driving cars can be sold publicly - can't have terrorists disabling critical safety features such as remote control for the 'Safe Emergency Vehicle Brake and Lock' software for Public Safety Officers...

    If you wear a full set of medieval armor on a daily basis, does it qualify for tin foil hat membership?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Precedent

      No, because the armor's made of steel, not tin, which according to conspiracy theorists means it's MORE receptive to brainwaves rather than less. Meanwhile, I wouldn't want to be in that armor in the middle of the summer.

      1. My-Handle

        Re: Precedent

        Of course, most tin-foil is actually made out of aluminium... /pedant

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Precedent

          No, if it's made of aluminum, it's aluminum foil. Tin foil MUST be made of tin or it's false advertising (and that's why you never see the term in America--aluminum was basically perfected here in the late 19th century so tin foil never really took root). Besides, like I said, you MUST go tin or bust. ONLY tin blocks the brainwaves according to them.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Precedent

            Tin foil MUST be made of tin or it's false advertising

            Unless it's actually TiN foil, of course.

  4. Bill Stewart

    They appear to be mixing up using electronics to disable the car dangerously when somebody else is driving (which might count as attempted or actual murder, things that are already illegal and very serious)

    with using the electronics to vandalize or steal a car (which are also already illegal, but are much less serious crimes.) Maybe life in prison is justified for wrecking a moving car; hot-wiring a car to steal it doesn't have any justification for more serious penalties than any other method of stealing a car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Steal/knick/hot-wire 3 cars

      go to jail for life, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

      How long will it be before prosecutors (who delight is proclaiming to the press that they will press for the maximum life sentence even for jaywalking) cotton on to the fact that stealing a car is in violation of this law. Any law that has a possible life term is subject to the 3-strikes rule and an automatic life sentence is passed. IANAL etc but these idiots who get elected need to be humanely put down ASAP.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Steal/knick/hot-wire 3 cars

        Trouble is, what do they do when the prisons get overcrowded, no one has the stomach to build a new prison (due to tax or NIMBY issues), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons is due to come knocking soon?

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Steal/knick/hot-wire 3 cars

          That's an easy one. They hire it out. Contract prisons are a big thing these days since they aren't subject to the red tape that a municipality would be required to go through and they could likely get tax breaks for bringing jobs into an area. It's one of the reasons that minimum sentencing guidelines are always on the increase as the lobbyists know the "tough on crime" package sells well with voters and if a congress critter isn't going to play ball his opponent in the next election will. The Incarceration Industrial Complex has become a huge problem in the U.S.

          Here's just one example.

    2. kiwimuso
      WTF?

      @ Bill Stewart

      "which might count as attempted or actual murder,....."

      That raises the point of why do we need yet another pointless law? In most jurisdictions, if you made ANY modification to a vehicle which differed from standard, and the result caused death or injury, do you think that the lack of a specific law outlawing said modification would prevent you from being charged with murder/manslaughter etc?

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Serious stupidity

    These two yahoos are well beyond Congress critter levels of stupidity. The problem that everyone is concerned about is the insecure wifi/bluetooth/etc. rf connections in many cars not owners modifying the code. The correct solution is for the automakers to fix the security issues not to pass an idiot law that even the dimmest Congress critter would run from.

    To extend Mark Twain - God created idiots for practice, then He created school boards - still for practice, then perfection of stupidity God create the Michigan legislature. I think Mark would approve.

  6. frank ly Silver badge

    It's an investment ....

    .... to prevent this in the future:

    "... which caused the car company to recall 1.4 million vehicles for a software upgrade ..."

  7. King Jack
    Trollface

    Future Global Laws

    Seeing as US laws apply to everyone on the planet (their thinking), what happens when somebody torrents a method of car control (10 years in UK) and hacks a car in 'merica? Is that instant death penalty? This is the new global punishment escalator. Looking forward to the brave new frontier.

  8. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Flame

    what of the home mechanic and the professional garage?

    So any one that uses a tool to diagnose issues using an odm port would be illegal? What of aftermarket alarm systems and immobilisers?

    They're really thinking on going there? Do they not understand how these tools work for the benefit of the free market economy? (just talking the language they might understand).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: what of the home mechanic and the professional garage?

      I would think the OEMs will be ecstatic Now EVERYTHING has to go through the dealer, with them getting a cut and all.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: go through the dealer

        Nope. The word "unauthorised" is right at the end of the list, just before "access", so the preceeding actions are forbidden absolutely. That is, as quoted in the article, the law would prohibit anyone from modifying the electronics in any way.

  9. RIBrsiq

    >> "I hope that we never have to use it," said Kowall. "That's why the penalties are what they are."

    By that stellar logic, the penalty for everything should be summary execution.

    Incidentally, what's the penalty for proposing stupid laws...?

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "By that stellar logic, the penalty for everything should be summary execution."

      Dracon, archon of Athens, beat you to it by about 2600 years; hence the word "draconian".

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Incidentally, what's the penalty for proposing stupid laws...?"

      Wasn't there a story of a Greek city-state where anyone wanting to propose a new law had to attend the council with the noose with which he would be hanged if the proposal didn't get enough votes?

    3. King Jack

      Summary Execution

      In Star Trek the next generation there was a planet where the death penalty was used for everything. Wesley Crusher tasted that justice first hand for falling on some flowers. Maybe these law makers are fans?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Summary Execution

        Not the first or last example. What you're seeing is termed "Absolute Justice," meaning there is only one punishment, not to mention it makes for great population control. It's all over fiction.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Summary Execution

        "In Star Trek the next generation there was a planet where the death penalty was used for everything. Wesley Crusher tasted that justice first hand for falling on some flowers. Maybe these law makers are fans?"

        In Wesley Crusher's case, it was the right punishment, but for the wrong reasons.

        I mean, seriously, what a dick.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "By that stellar logic, the penalty for everything should be summary execution."

    When they then don't get enough convictions to trumpet about - they follow two paths: lower the threshold of evidence and/or redefine the criteria to cover more nebulous conditions.

  11. Mycho Silver badge

    Emergency services?

    Are they going to add a clause to exempt accessing the electronics to get someone out of a burning vehicle? Unconscious drivers cannot give authorisation after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emergency services?

      Interesting point, maybe what we need is to have a blanket "Good Samaritan" exemption for the emergency services.

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Emergency services?

      Oh. Why lug around a heavy set of hydraulic jaws when you could use a laptop?

  12. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    How about, instead...

    ... passing a law that prosecutes dumb executives for putting flashy bells and whistles and other nonsense, such as allowing your car's software to be altered remotely, over simple basic bloody security?!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: How about, instead...

      No, because the executives are rich enough to give acceptable bribes, including bribed to overlook charges of bribery.

  13. BurnT'offering

    Read the PDF

    The addition to the bill says, "ACCESS ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS OF MOTOR VEHICLE TO OBTAIN DATA OR CONTROL OF VEHICLE".

    Nothing about illegally, unlawfully, etc. IANAL but wouldn't that cover just driving the flipping thing? I believe they are proposing to make it illegal to drive your own car (unless of course it has no electronics, so your Stanley Steamer is safe).

  14. EveryTime Silver badge

    Imprisonment culture?

    Today I propose lifetime imprisonment for jaywalking.

    "I hope that we never have to use it," said Kowall. "That's why the penalties are what they are. The potential for severe injury and death are pretty high."

    Millions of people that parked on the other side of roads without marked crosswalks will thank me for my legislative foresight.

  15. MR J

    IANAL either, but....

    shooting a gun

    TO

    cause death or injury to random people

    intentionally access or cause access to be made to an electronic system of a motor vehicle

    TO

    willfully destroy, damage, impair, alter or gain unauthorized control of the motor vehicle

    Shooting a gun is not illegal (in most of the US). So it looks to me like they are stating that the owner needs to grant permission and that makes it legal? I guess part of it depends on how you read English, as the Impair, Damage, or Willfully Destroy bit doesn't say authorized or unauthorized. Perhaps it should be written clearer, but to me this looks like a storm in a teapot.

    The big problem here is that firmware updates couldn't be done without express written permission, and any other modifications that might accidentally open up the BUS could fall foul of this law. Think a Bluetooth OBDII connector.

  16. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Popular Revolt

    It is all very well for us experts (some real, some self-proclaimed) here to criticise outsiders efforts to regulate, but there are real and general problems which concern everybody, not just us. If we do not listen to public concerns, our work will eventually be overthrown.

    The world has changed immensely since I was born about seventy years ago. In particular, many problems are world-wide and cannot be solved by a single nation. What is a minimum standard of decency in one country is an outrageous imposition in another, yet the Internet brings it to us all (unless you are behind a Great Firewall).

    What has not changed is the difficulty of getting politicians, democratic or otherwise, to listen to good advice. If you can't beat them, join them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Popular Revolt

      "It is all very well for us experts (some real, some self-proclaimed) here to criticise outsiders efforts to regulate, but there are real and general problems which concern everybody, not just us. If we do not listen to public concerns, our work will eventually be overthrown."

      Or the 1% in the walled garden will just call out their tools of genocide and wipe the plebs out like it was Tuesday. "One dies, get another."

  17. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Well (badly-written bills aside)...

    There's going to come a time when the vehicles will have enough full-authority self-driving command of the controls (steering wheel, brakes, accelerator), combined with the general immaturity of the software architectures, that perhaps aftermarket tinkering with the software could eventually (possibly, maybe, someday) lead to some sort of nightmare scenario.This time is probably about now.

    It's far from unimaginable. It's inevitable.

    Problem is, technical solutions get into Computer Security. Which is itself perfectly hopeless.

    This isn't 'End of the World' bad. But it will get on the evening news within the next 5 or 10 years.

  18. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah

    So disconnect the fucking cars from the internet. Shut down the WiFi and bluetooth device discovery gubbins.

    And show the politicians a bigger publicity opportunity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah

      Guaranteed that'll kill the car AND void the warranty. Now you're stuck with a $25,000 junk heap and no way to recoup the cost. Uh unn, not worth the risk. And shielding will probably only work for so long. Bet you it does a periodic phone home over an encrypted connection (so it'll be nigh impossible to fake) with signature checking and the whole nine yards, and if it doesn't get a reply after a while, it'll probably go into "less useful than a golf cart" mode.

      1. Ogi

        Re: Bah

        I foresee a thriving future industry of ripping out all the stock electrics/computers in a car, and replacing them with open source alternatives that give full control over the car back to the owners, as it should be.

        Which of course, is why they are trying to make such modifications illegal.

        1. LDS Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Bah

          Yeah, I can see a GPLv3 powerd car..... "the media your're going to play is DRM protected, I'm going to shutdown!" or "the new tyres license is not compatible with the GPL, refusing to start..."

      2. catsmum

        Re: Bah

        Somehow, I doubt that the connection will be encrypted, given car-makers' past history.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Bah

          They will once they realize it's the only way to secure their revenue streams. Few things will motivate a business like the very solid threat of lost profits. (What you descrtibe was more a calculated risk; you need to raise that risk to make them pay attention).

  19. Dieter Haussmann

    Unauthorized (SIC) - that's the keyword.

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      Does it define who can give authorization? I'm thinking of how manufacturers tried to use the DMCA to prevent third party garage door remotes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      alter

      I think that "alter" is the key word. That can be dropped.

      Unauthorized just needs clarification.

      1. Chris Evans

        Re: alter

        The key thing is WHO can authorize the alteration. If it is the owner of the vehicle then that seems to be to be the correct situation and no problem.

        Rather like the UK act that covers misuse of computers!

  20. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Preparation for the new laws

    Maybe at some point in the future, all of these new laws that come with life imprisonment or a death penalty will be changed to participation in the organ bank system. As soon as medical science evolves to the point where transplanting digits or entire limbs is possible, it won't be very hard to get public support to change the laws.

    Maybe I read too much Heinlein and Niven.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Preparation for the new laws

      I wonder if any of that speculative fiction touched on people who knew it was about to happen and so pickled themselves with toxins and so on to render their organs useless for "donation".

      1. DavCrav Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Preparation for the new laws

        "I wonder if any of that speculative fiction touched on people who knew it was about to happen and so pickled themselves with toxins and so on to render their organs useless for "donation"."

        You forgot the appropriate icon.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Preparation for the new laws

          Actually, I was thinking something like a heroin shot attached to a life-sign monitor. Soon as death appears inevitable, it kicks in, person dies on a high and all the organs are ruined at the same time.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Preparation for the new laws

      "Maybe I read too much Heinlein and Niven."

      I seriously doubt that's even possible.

  21. John Tserkezis

    Hello Mr Wallnut, from now on, you're going to be liasing only with Mr Sledgehammer.

    Good luck with that.

  22. dmacleo

    heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph (not that I would go that fast tires not made for it and at 135mph its at its handling limits) makes me eligible for lifetime imprisonment.

    oh well.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph"

      This reminds me of the story of the Alvis Scorpion that was being taken to an exhibition in Belgium when it become clear it was going to be late arriving due to the limited speed of the tank transporter. So the crew unloaded it, removed the governor, and proceeded down the autoroute at 120kph. The Scorpion was road legal, nothing to stop it.

      Life imprisonment would be a bit harsh for showing a bit of initiative. Alvis were reportedly very pleased with the publicity.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: "heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph"

        You do realise that 120kph is just above what is legal on any British dual carriageway?

        Most of Europe has 120kph (75mph) as the top speed limit, while the UK is at 70mph, because we suck.

        1. Awil Onmearse

          Re: "heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph"

          "You do realise that 120kph is just above what is legal on any British dual carriageway?"

          You do realise the Alvis Scorpion is a fucking tank?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph"

            And how much space does it need to stop at 120kph? What happened to to road pavement? Tanks (and others) are not common vehicle, even if "road enabled", and usually have special rules when used on public roads.Hope it was escorted....

            1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: "heh suppose my raising my 2010 marquis limiter from 110mph to 155mph"

              AC asked "And how much space does [an Alvis Scorpion tank] need to stop at 120kph?"

              Less than you'd assume.

              Have you seen the 'contact patch'? Square feet, not square inches.

              One of the 'How it's made' sort of TV shows included a demo of a huge British tank stopping on tarmac. Better than a sports car.

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          "...UK is at 70mph..."

          "...UK is at 70mph..."

          A few years ago, I drove from Heathrow to Portsmouth and back. Six lane motorway, M3 I guess. The slow lane was at least 70, the middle lane was 80-90 The fast lane was 90-100 mph. It was *very* relaxing.

          PS. The 25% mix of 'comedy cars' (abnormal and unusual) were very entertaining.

          1. Vic

            Re: "...UK is at 70mph..."

            Six lane motorway, M3 I guess. The slow lane was at least 70, the middle lane was 80-90 The fast lane was 90-100 mph. It was *very* relaxing.

            I drove that motorway on Saturday afternoon. All six lanes came to a complete stop - because there was an accident on the hard shoulder, well off the carriageway. Three of those lanes are in the opposite direction...

            I have no idea why people need to stop and look at an accident. But it really pisses me off...

            Vic.

  23. chris 17 Bronze badge

    Consequences, repercussions, liability and hail time.

    The law makers don't face any sanctions or retribution if the laws they pass have dreadful repercussions. Maybe if they where made liable, backed with jail time (in nasty jails not state hotels) they would think harder before proposing such slippy rules.

  24. Slx

    These populist, reactionary mandatory sentencing regimes in the US are taking power away from courts to make subtle and sensible decisions based on the facts and they're massively increasing the US prison population.

    The United States prison population is something they should be ashamed of not trying to increase.

    A whopping 689 / 100,000 people is in prison in the United States

    445 in Russia

    301 in Brazil

    199 in Poland

    148 in England/Wales

    145 in Scotland

    140 in Spain and Portugal.

    132 in Jersey

    100 in France

    82 in Ireland

    78 in Germany

    71 in Norway

    45 in Iceland.

    This is not a table you want to be shouting "We're number 1" on...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "The United States prison population is something they should be ashamed of not trying to increase."

      Nope. America is damn PROUD of being tough on crime. As a native Texas comedian even used as one of his bits, "We have the Death Penalty and we USE it!" As far as they're concerned, this is population control and the price of living in an orderly society.

      1. Slx

        They don't live in a particularly orderly society though. They've one of the highest levels of murders, shooting and violent crime in the developed world. So, it clearly doesn't work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "They don't live in a particularly orderly society though. They've one of the highest levels of murders, shooting and violent crime in the developed world. So, it clearly doesn't work."

          Or rather they're in a unique position where nothing CAN really work. The US has a combination of large geography, high population count with considerable diversity that results in culture clashes, and an unacknowledged caste system where the have-everythings are trying to strip everything from the have-nothings and then wall themselves off so they can nuke the rest of the country and then only have to deal with themselves. In this kind of setting, crime is not only inevitable, it's the only way ahead for most people who are otherwise dead-ended and are expected to just go somewhere and DIE. And it's not just America. India and China (the only two countries with MORE people) have problems of their own: just not to the same degree because they're not as diverse.

          Basically, the US's problem is the intractable problem of having 12 starving stranded islanders and only 3 coconuts. No matter how much you slice it, the results WILL get ugly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        America is damn PROUD...

        @Charles 9

        "We're #1." (<- YouTube) Yay!!!

        I'm sure y'all can do better. But I don't know how either... Good luck.

  25. jake Silver badge

    I've been re-programing my vehicles for decades ...

    I've been hacking car and motorcycle systems (analog and digital) for over 40 years, from cam timing, lift & duration to carb jetting and exhaust tuning to reprogramming EEPROMs for better performance (the sports cars) or economy (the tow rigs).

    All are street legal, passed applicable smog rules, and properly insured.

    Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) and Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) can kiss my pasty white butt.

  26. kstavert

    Demolished car

    Yes, the proposed law is stupid....

    What's equally stupid is using an image of

    a demolished vehicle as your draw... has

    nothing whatsoever to do with the article

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modification should be legal...

    ... but vehicles should be re-certified after modification altering driving characteristics. Researchers should be allowed on a "prototype" exception - but those vehicles should be managed as such and properly insured.

    After all, if an original system is vulnerable, nobody ensures a modified one is not (or becomes) as well - while modification can also be used to deceive customers of used vehicles.

    Penalties should be applied to whoever alters a vehicle in a dangerous way, or to deceive - depending on the actual danger or actual consequences.

    There's a reason if in aeronautics everything that flies needs a proper certification and usually you're not allowed to mess with systems.

    1. Vic

      Re: Modification should be legal...

      Your other authoritarian claptrap aside,

      There's a reason if in aeronautics everything that flies needs a proper certification and usually you're not allowed to mess with systems.

      CAP 733 details how the permit-to-fly system works in the UK[1]. You most certainly are allowed to build, repair and modify such systems.

      Vic.

      [1] Other countries have similar rules.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote from article: "...computer networks with an engine and wheel attached."

    Mine's the jet black unicycle....

    /coat

  29. catsmum

    Lunatics in Charge of the Asylum

    Why are such daft laws more often than not proposed by Republicans?

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