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EU Secretly Plans To Put a Back Door In Every Car By 2020 364

An anonymous reader writes "A secretive EU body has agreed to develop a device to be fitted to all cars allowing police to cut off any engine at will, it emerged today. The device, which could be imposed within a decade, would also allow police to track a vehicle's movements as well as immobilise it. According to The Daily Telegraph a group of senior EU officials, including several Home Office mandarins, have signed off the proposal at a secret meeting in Brussels."
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EU Secretly Plans To Put a Back Door In Every Car By 2020

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  • Secret meetings: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:29PM (#46114353) Journal

    it's what democracy is about!

    • by cstec ( 521534 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:31PM (#46114371)
      Democrazy. You spelled it wrong.
      • Re:Secret meetings: (Score:5, Informative)

        by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:47PM (#46114565)

        Considering the two sources given are the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, it's safest to assume this is lies until someone finds a reliable source.

        (Two newspapers that make their profitis by getting "middle Englanders" angry. )

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          This has been referenced in other places as well, although, the "secret" part is news to me.

          • If the Mail or Telegraph weren't invited to attend, it's a secret meeting as far as they're concerned.

            It's like a scientist saying "The change is statistically significant" and the papers reporting "SIGNIFICANT RISK HORROR!". They have their own rules about English.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Given that Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, ABC, etc... have become nothing but propaganda tools, your statement is simply asinine. Quality "News" has become almost non existent. Maybe you missed the Whistle Blowers from NYP and Washington Post that told you how they only release what the Government has scrubbed.

          Should you ask for sources? Absolutely. Should you claim that someone can't be true because of a name? Not today you can't.

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:14PM (#46114863)

          I think we can consider it pretty much inevitable. In fact I'm amazed they haven't already started installing them. Hell, maybe they have. It is such a wonderful tool I'd be shocked if they could possibly resist the temptation. Imagine never needing to chase a car ever again? Always knowing where someone is and where they've been? It almost has to happen.

          • by MrNiCeGUi ( 302919 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @02:40AM (#46117751)
            What makes this an incredible bad idea is that it gives the government a very powerful method to thwart dissent.

            In view of the recent events in Ukraine, where protestors or suspected protestors have received a threatening text message from their phone company, saying "Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance", one can easily imagine that this technology which is to be used purportedly to stop car chases can and most certainly will be used to stop private transport in cases of massive anti-government protests.

            The power that this will give the government over the population is extraordinary. This is therefore a very bad idea and a serious threat to democracy and needs to be stopped.
            • by tom229 ( 1640685 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:25AM (#46119951)
              Thank you! Vote this man up!

              This is the biggest problem I have with all those people who chant "who cares... I have nothing to hide". Sure maybe now you don't. But do you really want to give absolute power to a government entity and just hope they will always be your friend? It's a massive risk to take that is not worth the short term conveniences they're providing us. Wake up people.
        • Re:Secret meetings: (Score:5, Informative)

          by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:24PM (#46114985)

          BBC also: []

          The BBC story also includes a link to the actual EU document (pdf) stating the work program.

          • 6 years to launch and it's "out," either not a secret at all, or a very poorly executed one.

            • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:32AM (#46117177) Homepage

              Far more likely is was released on purpose because it is an incredibly bad idea. Any system to shut every car by every police force across the globe will absolutely positively e hacked before it is even distributed, allowing criminals to shut down peoples cars across the globe. So driving on unlit back country roads would become incredibly dangerous. Driving in the wee hours of the morning with out much traffic about, would become incredibly dangerous. Peak hour mega traffic jams would become routine. Payments to have the system stripped from the cars of criminals would become some routine, that they would become very cheap. I bet those same idiots would considering adding it to aircraft.

          • Re:Secret meetings: (Score:5, Informative)

            by Paul Jakma ( 2677 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:39PM (#46116009) Homepage Journal

            Note that this is taking place under the auspices of the Council of European Union [], i.e. directly at the behest of the member state governments. The document mentions "Remote Stopping" just once:

            Remote Stopping Vehicles
            Cars on the run have proven to be dangerous for citizens. Criminal offenders (from robbery to a
            simple theft) will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases the police are unable to chase
            the criminal due to the lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely. This project starts with the
            knowledge that insufficient technology tools are available to be used as part of a proportionate
            response. This project will work on a technological solution that can be a “build in standard” for all
            cars that enter the European market.

            So there's nothing agreed, there's nothing that is going to be imposed. The technology doesn't even exist. All they're doing is they're going to look to see what they could develop. Once they've done that, that doesn't mean it will be imposed. This working group doesn't have that power. If the public doesn't like it, the *member state* politicians (not EU politicians!) who make the decisions at the Council of the EU level would not put it forward. Even if these *state* politicians *did* want to impose this, they'd still need the agreement of the European Parliament (with its directly elected MEPs). The EP can delay and even block legislation (though, that requires a super-majority, ultimately).

            tl;dr: the Dailymail are, as usual, blowing out their arse and making shit up about what's happening at the EU.

          • by jopsen ( 885607 )
            The BBC also says:

            A source familiar with Enlets said it was unlikely that such devices could be in new cars by the end of the decade.

            Furthermore, I don't think this is a secret plan. It sounds more like a work group discussing the technical feasibility of such as system.

            No way, this was going to be implemented without public discussion... Note, there is no talk of implementation, just talk about feasibility, then they will talk standardization, then there'll be law and then a couple years down the road it'll be implemented in actual cars... Assuming public outcry doesn't kill this quiet possibly sensible idea.

            Who kn

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      it's what democracy is about!

      For those with the votes which trump our puny votes.

      Yay freedom :-\

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      Wow, a leak about security and privacy without Snowden?
    • it's what democracy is about!

      What made you believe EU was a democracy? European parliament cannot even propose a directive!

  • Great idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:31PM (#46114361)

    Because criminals won't immediately disable this shit, right?

    • Re:Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:33PM (#46114403) Homepage

      Or learn how to access it...

      Remember, if "They" can do it, for any value of They, so can someone else.

      • Re:Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:57PM (#46114677)

        Not necessarily, but given this is a government proposal (well, sort-of), it will have all the characteristics these people typically manage to achieve, namely, insecure, unreliable, too expensive and generally a failure. I predict that this thing If it gets implemented...) will not work reliably for the police, but will work reliably for criminals.

        • Just because your government is incompetent doesn't mean all governments are incompetent. Heck, I've even heard of a government agency putting a man on the moon.

      • Or learn how to access it...

        Remember, if "They" can do it, for any value of They, so can someone else.

        If it uses any of the same interfaces as the Event Data Recorder ("black box"), you can get the equipment to access it here, [] for anywhere between $1,500 to $10,000.

      • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <> on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:12PM (#46114841) Homepage

        Or learn how to access it...

        Remember, if "They" can do it, for any value of They, so can someone else.

        To do that they would have to either defeat a highly sophisticated military grade encryption system, or somehow be able to answer secret recovery questions that only the maker of the car would know.

        "What year was this car's engine block assembled?"

        "What was the name of the first dealership that this car was sent to?"

        "If I tell you the last four digits of the credit card number used to purchase this car, can you tell me the two that come before them in under 100 guesses?"

        I'm telling you, there is _no_ way that anybody could break through this kind of security.

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:35PM (#46114429) Homepage Journal

      Because criminals won't immediately disable this shit, right?

      Criminals will be targeted by drones. You'll know they are criminals because the drones shot at them.

      Move along, citizen, nothing to see here.

    • Re:Great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:46PM (#46114547)

      I'm sure the definition of "criminal" will quickly expand once they get this power. Have an unpaid parking ticket? Your car is now disabled. Behind on child support payments? Your car is now disabled....etc,etc, etc

      • by Megane ( 129182 )
        Better yet, combine this with the Brits' beloved Gatso speed cameras for a double win!
    • Re:Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:48PM (#46114567)

      No, disabling it will make you a criminal. Cover a surveillance camera, you are a criminal.

      It will be fun when a mother and her children are crushed by a bus when a static discharge immobilises her car in an intersection.

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )

      Because criminals (either working for them, or getting access, or just being outside frontiers, like NSA and people that have access directly or indirectly to their secrets) will not be ever be able to trigger it on normal people cars too.

      Is already bad for your health (and the ones surrounding you) to drive, is one of the main death causes in the world. Adding the extra spice of carrying a backdoorl on them that you won't know when it will trigger and cause an accident will make driving very popular. And

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:31PM (#46114367)

    $10 million, (finger twist), or every other car on the autobahn comes to a halt at 1pm.

    • by robinsonne ( 952701 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:34PM (#46114413)
      We can hope, because that's the only way that the general public will finally see how dangerous having this capability is.
      • by fritsd ( 924429 )
        newspaper article:

        "In other news, this morning during rush hour there was a random glitch in the Car Safety System, not caused by anything like blackmail at all (how dare you suggest such a thing!) which stopped every other car on the autobahn until .. the situation was resolved. Spokespeople said the CSS is very safe, and such glitches will not happen very often again. Possibly."
    • Exactly. This is a STUPID idea.
    • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:54PM (#46114635)

      It only takes a FEW cars disabled in key intersections to plug city streets.
      Police could do this, or criminals could do it keep police away from the bank heist (or what ever).
      Or the mythical terrorists, I suppose.

      Its bad enough when Obama visits any town in the US and shuts the the airport and motorcade route down
      for nothing but a political fundraiser. Can you imagine this technology loose in wild?

      I guarantee if this gets passed in the EU it will arrive in the US in short order. Every time there is
      a police chase anywhere, there will be a hue and cry from the usual useful idiots lobbying for this on
      all cars.

    • Back in 1989, Alfred Herrhausen, a banker, was assasinated with a fairly complex bomb. [] []

      Herrhausen fell victim to a sophisticated roadside bomb shortly after leaving his home in Bad Homburg on 30 November 1989. He was being chauffeured to work in his armoured Mercedes-Benz, with bodyguards in both a lead vehicle and another following behind. The bomb had been hidden in a saddle bag on a bicycle next to the road that the assassins knew Herrhaus

  • First hack will put a end to that pretty quickly I suspect.
  • As soon as this is hacked and becomes the plaything of miscreants.

  • by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:34PM (#46114409)
    About 5 minutes after this is implemented, the protocols will be cracked. About 5 minutes later some prankster will be broadcasting the "kill" signal to every car in Paris from a lunchbox portable radio from the top of the Eiffel tower.
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:34PM (#46114421)

    And a hatchback door, so I guess you could say there are 3 back doors.

    Way to write a headline, editors. How about something a little better like "EU Secretly Plans To Put a Back Door in Every Car ECU by 2020" ?

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:35PM (#46114431) Homepage Journal

    Does that mean only hatchbacks will be permitted in the EU going forward?

    (Note to eds: bad titles are bad, and will be mocked.)


  • According to The Daily Telegraph a group of senior EU officials, including several Home Office mandarins, have

    Is 'mandarin' the new 'chinaman' or something?

    • by gaudior ( 113467 )

      Full Definition of MANDARIN
      a : a public official in the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior grades
      b (1) : a pedantic official (2) : bureaucrat

    • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:42PM (#46114509)


      (informal, UK) A senior civil servant.

    • by ctaylor ( 160829 )

      Well, the dictionary definition is:

      1. A member of any of the nine ranks of high public officials in the Chinese Empire.
      2. A high government official or bureaucrat.
      3. A member of an elite group, especially a person having influence or high status in intellectual or cultural circles.

      It's sometimes used in a negative manner, especially with definitions 2 & 3.

      • 4. A small orange that comes in a can.

        Ive long suspected that my traitorous canned oranges were plotting against me, skulking about the pantry in their RF shielded little can-bunkers, using their knowledge of citrus-based automotive control technology.
      • Dick York or Sargent?

        More importantly, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt or Lee Meriwether. Those are the only choices.
  • ...suddenly a vulnerability is found and a kid rips off the first DDOT (Distributed Denial of Transportation)

    and all of London's cars come to a grinding halt...

  • Mandarins (Score:2, Funny)

    by hammeraxe ( 1635169 )

    What the.....

  • Wow, some secret. Who'd they hire to keep this data "secret"? The fuckin' NSA?

  • by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:39PM (#46114473)

    Call me when they release these "classified documents", name the "mandarins" concerned and find someone who can give a more reasoned opinion than Nijel "why does this man deserve equal coverage on the BBC?" Farage, otherwise I'll just assume this is just more of The Telegraph's usual anti-EU ranting.

    Oh, look, the Mail's covering it too.
    Fancy that.

    For heaven's sake, there's more than enough EU bumbling going on as it is without editors concocting more of their own.

    • More to the point, I'm struggling to get excited about this idea - the document is probably right that high speed car chases are extremely dangerous. The people in the article going "zomg what if it goes off accidentally in traffic" amaze me. What if it goes off accidentally? Er, the car glides to a halt. What if someone is in a high speed car chase? Better not be a pedestrian in the way ....

      I'm usually pretty concerned about erosions of civil liberties, but seriously, if you're being chased by the cops and

  • by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:40PM (#46114489)
    At least the inevitable war-driving hacks for this will put IT security center stage and not the usual 30 second slot in the late evening news.
  • If that is true, than someone leaked it. They should be found and tried for treason. Isn't that what happens to people who let the public know how the government is ......

  • Tin Foil Hats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mk1004 ( 2488060 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:44PM (#46114523)
    Because the Daily Mail is like the Onion, only the jokes are by accident.
  • They forget about other EU nations parliaments and only mention their own 'House of Commons'.

    More significantly they forget about the EU parliament.

    Had The Telegraph serious worries about this EU police group they would have included opinions from other EU member states.

    Further these discussions are not 'secret', at best they are confidential, not exactly unusual for police matters and concerning our security.

    But this proposal is indeed a move to the unwanted and unnecessary, yet totally along the lines

    • well, I say forget this dangerous, insta-hacked concept... go back to what you think of every time you watch those cop-chase TV shows: police helicopters should be armed with missiles to stop those scumbag car chases. Its the only truly safe way - after all, if you remotely-immobilise a fleeing car carrying criminals, they will just get out and run away!

      Note, also works against terrorists. I can only think they didn't go for this simply because the liberal democrats threatened to vote against it. Either tha

  • Five gets you one hundred that, assuming this agreement actually exists, there are exceptions in it for cars being used by high officials and the well-enough-connected-to-pay-sufficient-bribes.

  • OnStar has had the ability to remotely disable a car for years []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:53PM (#46114625)

    Lots of the above posts go on and on about hackers, yet I don't hear about this happening to all those OnStar equiped vehicles that have the ability to remotely disable your engine.

  • And so it begins.

  • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:56PM (#46114661)
    Looks like it's time for a coupe
  • I can see this being reversed the first time a Muzzy disables a politicians car in a terror attack.
  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:58PM (#46114697)

    People like to argue that these kinds of surveillance and control are legitimate and nobody cares about them; if so, then why are they done in secret?

  • why do we know about it?
  • by Paul Jakma ( 2677 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:05PM (#46114759) Homepage Journal

    Dear Slashdot,

    You've posted a story from the Dailymail that has the form "EU wants to do outrageous thing!". The Dailymail has a long track record of:

    a) Hating the EU.

    b) Printing utter falsehoods about supposed plans "the EU" has, at least in their headlines and leading text.

    E.g., a previous instance, which I complained to the PCC about (who turn out to be toothless and/or cowards): [] .

    Please do not feed the Dailymail troll.

  • Mostly nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grumbleduke ( 789126 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:10PM (#46114817) Journal

    This story is mostly nonsense.

    There's a thing called ENLETS (or European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services), which is meant to be "the leading European platform that strengthens police cooperation and bridges the gap between the users and providers of law enforcement technology." From what I can tell it is a sort of advisory committee of law enforcement technology experts, working through Europol, who brainstorm how to use technology to help law enforcement stuff. Currently it gets about €600k in funding, mostly from the EU, some from the UK and the Netherlands. They're asking for that to be increased to €915k. Most of that seems to be in hiring some new full-time advisers; from their personnel costs, they want about 8 people working full time; a leader, a policy officer, and admin person and 5 senior advisers. So if they don't get their budget increase, there's a good chance none of this stuff will happen.

    This article is based on a "secret" document (which I think is this one []), which is a (draft?) work programme for the group for 2014-2020; so what they're supposed to be looking at.

    This document stems from a recommendation by the Council of the European Union that ENLETS look into this kind of thing - the instructions etc. can be found here [] (or if that doesn't work, search for document 12103/13 on their search page []). They asked ENLETS to monitor and coordinate the development of new technologies.

    The actual "secret" document is listed on the Council's website (do a search for 17365/13) as "Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) 2014 - 2020 - Work programme", but the document itself isn't accessible. I don't know whether that's because it's such a minor report (and not really an official EU thing) that they haven't bothered uploading it, or if they are claiming it should be withheld; I'm tempted to make a formal request for it to see what they say.

    The five short-term goals they have been asked to look at are in some places a bit scary:

    1. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) - ANPR is well established in many MS. In 2013/14 ENLETS will support those MS who feel the need to enhance their capabilities by sharing best practices. The ANPR systems will be measured by its maturity, capabilities and their deployment.
    2. Open Source Intelligence - Open source intelligence is a prioritized topic due to the evolving internet and wireless communication systems. For law enforcement it is a source of information as well as a method of communication. Open source intelligence relates to frontline policing (events, crowd control) and criminal investigations (search for evidence, monitoring and surveillance). In this project the handling of open sources will be assessed and ranked.
    3. Signal Intelligence - Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) deploy many kinds of sensors, mostly connected to their IT systems. The sensors need to enhance the operational capability of the LEAs, but often the integration of these sensors and IT systems cause technological problems. Frequently sensor data cannot be integrated, stored or displayed due to the design, protocols and construction of IT systems. What kind of signal intelligence is the most operationally effective and open for integrating the sensors in the EU? What kind of concept will be needed as ever more data is forwarded for processing and more information needs to be analysed?
    4. Surveillance - Surveillance uses many types of technology. In this topic focus will be on sharing the best video systems (quality, performance in several scenarios). The purpose of this topic is to match the best standards in video used by the industry to the end user requirements. Privacy enhanced technology and transparency are key issues.
    5. Remote St
  • by drwho ( 4190 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:15PM (#46114875) Homepage Journal

    ...from CSI.

  • 1. Jailbreaking vulnerable car systems

    2. After-market engine performance and firewall firmware/hardware replacements

    3. Advanced "radar" detectors which now become AIPS and AIDS (Authority Intrusion Prevention & Detection Systems)

    4. Automotive GPS spoofs

    etc etc

    My guess is that since the NSA revelations, it is easy to give wing to any story about government intrusion into everyday life. It might even be true. I am sure that even if this story is out of the Weekly World News* bin, somebody in authority

  • Of course, this will include police cars, vehicles for diplomats, government limos...
  • But, all the cars over here already have a back door and its quite visible. We call it trunk.
  • When the headline/summary/article says "secret" does that mean "knowledge (previously) restricted to authorised people" or the journalistic meaning of "most people just didn't know about it until now"?

  • You keep using that word.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun