"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--for ever."
--from the book "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell
I don't normally comment on political stuff here or even the tech side of things which is covered better than I could do it by other blogs like Bikes is the Fast Lane and the larger motorcycle news services. Some technological issues cross over into politics and on both levels can or will effect motorcycles and the people who ride them. In this case the techno-political stuff is something into which I have a little insight given my years working in the automotive industry in vehicle testing and what I see bothers me more and more.
So I'm passing this along so you be more aware of what is coming. No, not what might be coming, what is coming. Oh, it might take another ten years, maybe fifteen or twenty to get to bikes, but it will happen because the seeds of the technology are already planted and growing in your cars and in your newer, ever more electronically managed bikes.
From a BBC News article: (Link below)
"The combination of engine management system and wireless communications also gives governments a way to enforce speed limits that no-one can escape.
Mr. Illsley said all the technology to do this is available now.
For instance, the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds is currently in the middle of a six-year project to evaluate an intelligent speed adaptation system that keep cars to a prescribed speed limit.
But, says Mr. Illsley, once you have road signs that can control an engine and slow a car down 'it's no longer a technical issue, it's a social issue about how we want to apply the rules'. "
Link to the complete article
In this instance it looks like the British government is leading the way and it's subjects will placidly follow as they always do on matters of public safety as seen by their current government (and soon the Europen Union). Remember that "1984" was written by a British author about his own people. No doubt the American government will adopt more extensive vehicle control and monitoring technology than they already have (see below) after seeing how it works out for the Brits.
On this side of the Atlantic we Americans, who are rebels at heart and by birthright, might be shocked at the thought of the government taking control of our cars and motorcycles but as we have all quietly accepted police radar, red light cameras, speed cameras, and a host of other intrusions into our daily lives, there will be little resistance to this next intrusion. Besides, it will all be for the collective good, don't you see? Who could argue against safety? And individual rights, quaint notions that they are unless you are a criminal, terrorist, or pornographer, must not be allowed to intrude on the safety and orderliness of the greater society, right? Right?
To get just a small idea how far things have gone already take a little time to read this article in Auto Week Magazine:
"Under the Hood, with Big Brother"
Forget Orwell’s 1984 - 20 Years Later It’s Our Cars That Are Giving Us Up
By the way, lest you be tempted to blame all this on one political party or another, it's not a partisan issue. The technology and it's implimentation is being driven forward by technocrats and insurance companies who are determined to do what they see as best for society regardless of who is in power.
And don't think you'll be able to bypass or disable the technology. The "OBD II" system that is already in your late model car cannot be disabled without disabling the vehicle. I know this, I work in vehicle testing, remember?
Have a nice day. Go for a long, fast ride while your bike with still let you.