OnStar Used To Stop Carjacked Car

from the where-do-you-think-you're-going? dept

Way back in 2003, there was some discussion around the idea of having a "remote stop" feature on car telematics systems, in case a car gets stolen. There were some serious worries about how this could make things dangerous for other drivers on the road, but two years ago, OnStar enabled just such a service, and now we've heard about it being used on a carjacked car. OnStar "disabled the gas pedal," remotely, thus forcing the car to slow down, and allowing the cops to catch the carjacker (after he fell into a pool while running from the cops). While effective in helping to catch this guy, you still have to wonder about the safety of remotely stopping a car like that.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2009 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Remote turnoff for cars

    While there are, or should be, serious concerns about "entrapment" in some of the scenarios, there is an even greater concern, IMO, about safety, as you said.

    About entrapment: yeah, I've seen some TV episodes that looked kind of like that to me. The cops park the bait car in the target area with the windows down and the keys hinging in the ignition. Sometimes they even leave the engine running. That seems kind of like leaving a $20 bill laying on the sidewalk and waiting for someone to take it. Yes, it's still theft, but it seems to me the use of "bait" really marks it as a "trap" and thus qualifies it as "entrapment". Of course, whether entrapment should be allowed or not is a whole different question.

    I've also noticed that they always seem to pick less affluent neighborhoods as their targets. They apparently don't want to be arresting the wrong kind of kids (i.e. affluent).

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