The Victorian Government is funding a trial new 12-month trial beginning in September, where Victorian Police, in conjunction with the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council will fit GPS trackers to 1,000 cars. These vehicles trackers would allow police to track a vehicle anywhere in the world should it be ‘activated’.
Activating the GPS tracker is said to be done, only with the implicit permission of the vehicle owner, usually given if your car is stolen and you want it back, much like your phone. This obviously raises a huge privacy concern, should the device ever be activated without the user’s consent. A user would give consent by launching a mobile app, connecting to the device and approving the Police access. This means the tracker also supports Bluetooth.
The idea is largely to deter thieves from stealing vehicles, if they knew there was a strong chance, stolen cars could be remotely tracked. With only a 1,000 cars in the trial, thieves would have to be pretty unlucky to nab one with the tracker on-board, but the Assistant Commissioner, Rober Hill told 3AW today that he sees a future where all vehicles are fitted with this technology.
Once the vehicle is located, the Police would intervene to intercept and recover the vehicle. Right now there’s 43 cars in Victoria alone stolen, with many never being recovered and many being destroyed.
The Police argue that the tracking itself is not new technology, sighting examples like Uber that use the mobile device of the driver to track their cars. While that may be true, a business leveraging the technology is one thing, but a Government is quite another, one that’s sure to make plenty of people very nervous about big brother watching.
The GPS device is said to be positioned in a ‘hidden’ location on the car, as to prevent it from being removed by the bad guys. What’s described as something the size of a chip, would certainly require power from the battery, so I while it’ll probably be hidden from the uneducated criminal, sophisticated organised crime is likely going to have little issue locating it.
Hill goes on to say that in the future he expect vehicle manufacturers to include this by default and to some degree they already have. Tesla’s Model S and Model X have a remote GPS locater should your car ever be stolen, but again the relationship between customer and manufacturer is very different than citizen and Government.
Have a listen to the interview below and leave a comment with your thoughts. Would you be comfortable with the cops having a GPS tracker on your car ?
Just going to leave this here.