First point of failure is not the technology itself; GPS is a proven technology. The problem lies in the implementation; what if some clever dicky were to find a way of reprogramming their ‘black box’ (And some clever dicky will - that much is a given) so that it did not respond to the transponder signal and report his vehicles position. His ‘black box’ would not be breaking the law because it would be legally fitted to his vehicle. It would merely be faulty and therefore his ‘road price’ could not be calculated, or wrongly undercalculated. Others would simply fail to have a ‘black box’ installed in their car, and a small growth industry would arise in to disabling / sabotaging the GPS.
One small caveat here; one of my ‘duties’ is to give members of the public directions. It’s a regular occurrence for me to come across a fuming van driver cursing his Sat-Nav for sending him two miles in the wrong direction. The exchange usually goes something like this; I see a van driver sitting in his cab on an active restriction, sometimes in a ‘No unloading’ zone. I wander over and try to catch his eye as he struggles with his paperwork and fiddles with the Sat-Nav box.
Me; “You lost?”
Driver; “Er yeah, d’you know where Other Street is? My Sat-Nav keeps on taking me round the one way system backwards.”
Me; “End of this road, first left at the Island, second right half a mile up.”
Driver; “Oh, cheers.”
Driver buggers off restriction – job done.
Let’s do a little joined up thinking here; guess who gets to chase the hundreds of thousands of vehicles without ‘black boxes’ for non compliance? How many officers is that going to tie up when the rest of the crime stats go through the roof? Could it be our hard pressed Police, who seem to be having a few problems putting sufficient officers on the streets at the time of writing? For the reasons why, just read Dave Copperfield’s blog (I’ve got this awful nagging feeling that we work within twenty miles of each other – don’t ask me why).
Perhaps we should legally limit the decision making powers of government to stuff which they are qualified to deal with? Most Lawyers and Politicians are not qualified to make decisions on the high level use of Information Technology the same way as a high level IT implementation specialist would not be on the finer points of the laws concerning Tort.
From what I can see, the current crop of politicians doesn’t understand the issues involved. They promised us ‘Joined up Government’ (Yeah, right) but seem congenitally incapable of delivering on that promise. Just look at the Hunt ban, a nightmare to enforce, easy to dodge, and has alienated whole swathes of the countryside. How about the handling of the Foot and Mouth outbreak? They had to call in the Army for crying out loud. Just like the Wilson years in the mid to late 1960's and early 1970's. Centralise everything and royally fuck it up.
Just an idle thought on my days off…….