Apr 27 2009 Ian Johnson
Privacy stir over satellite
A NEW communications satellite funded by the EU is causing a stir in the privacy lobby.
Called Gallileo, the satellite could be the key for the government to install black boxes in every new car which could have its position pinpointed.
The original worries were that the satellite would enable every car to be tracked for road charging - which is still lurking in the pending tray.
Now there are fears from bodies such as the Association of British Drivers that the satellite will be the eye of Big Brother.
It is envisaged that vehicles will emit a constant "heartbeat" revealing their location, speed and direction of travel.
The EU's spin on the satellite is that it will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions and some car manufacturers have indicated that a black box could be installed in all new cars as early as 2013.
Nothing over the satellite's tracking has been publicly admitted but it is understood that it could trace a vehicle to within a metre.
At the moment The Department for Transport says there are no plans to make installation of the technology mandatory. But if manufacturers are already involved then the writing is on the wall.
Mind you, it's not all worrying as car theft will certainly become a thing of the past.
The system allows cars to "talk" to one another and the road. A "communication box" behind the dashboard ensures that cars send out "heartbeat" messages every 500 milliseconds.
The messages will be picked up by other cars in the vicinity, allowing vehicles to warn each other of emergency actions
But you cannot walk away from progress and by 2020 we will probably all be under the nanny EU state's benign gaze whether we like it or not.