Government to Have “Kill Switch” to Turn Off Americans’ Vehicles

Government to Have

( – There are times when politicians pass laws with good intentions, but that doesn’t mean all good intentions belong in legislation. For example, after 9/11, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law. Lawmakers intended the legislation to be a tool for preventing terrorism in the United States. Under President Barack Obama, the government used the Patriot Act to justify spying on Americans.

It appears Congress has slipped a provision into law once again with good intentions, but the government could use it in very inappropriate ways. In November, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. Buried in it was a hidden-in-plain-sight provision requiring auto manufacturers to install lockout devices, a.k.a. kill switches, in all new vehicles.

Police will love this tool. It would allow them to kill vehicles if they encounter drunk drivers or find themselves in hot pursuit. It seems this would be a valuable public safety feature. Yet, it could be dangerous. It’s an open system or, at best, one with a back door that might allow hackers to access a vehicle remotely at any time.

It would leave most people wondering: who has access to my car or truck? Is it the police? A federal government agency? Hackers? Would police need a warrant to shut down a vehicle, or could they just randomly kill engines?

There are far more questions than answers. It’s not even clear if the provision potentially violates the 4th Amendment.

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