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Brits thinking about GPS tracking every car on the road

Nilay Patel

Wow, those Brits sure do love surveilling each other. Even as both Houses of Parliament conduct independent investigations on how nearly-constant CCTV monitoring is affecting British citizens, a group of researchers issued a report on future transportation policy that recommended the growing British traffic problem be solved by tracking every car on the road with GPS. While every-car tracking in the name of security is nothing new for the Brits -- they already do it with cameras -- the GPS scheme is primarily meant to reduce congestion and pollution, an idea we've definitely heard before. The researchers say that satellite-tracking will allow for variable speed limits and road-user access charges, making for faster journeys and fewer carbon emissions. The major hiccup in the plan, of course, is outfitting all 30 million cars in Britain with the appropriate transceivers, a rollout that the researchers say will take up to 10 years, but can be aided by requiring auto manufacturers to build the devices in -- something they claim is a "simple extension" to current GPS navigation units. Oh, and how do they plan to deal with those pesky personal privacy issues everyone's getting so worked up about? With "appropriate laws," of course! Yep, that'll be enough to keep those stalkers at bay.

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