Re: GPS Car speed control advancing in UK

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sun Jan 28 2001 - 12:26:05 MST

On Sun, Jan 28, 2001 at 04:45:01PM -0000, BillK wrote:
> On the other hand, this technology is not being used to fine people or to
> lock them up. Instead it is being used to make the unwanted (criminal?)
> behaviour impossible to carry out. This seems a less threatening way for the
> authorities to behave.

On the one hand, it's hard to justify objecting to it within the
framework of the existing law.

On the other hand, if you think the law is *wrong* it's, um, repressive
to say the least.

> It is like developing an immunisation jab that makes
> pot have no effect on people,

This would be disastrous; you're trying to mess around with a neurotransmitter
analog! If you get it wrong, you'll make people immune to a chunk of their
central nervous system. Not good.

> or an added ingredient to beer that stops
> people getting drunk,

What's wrong with getting drunk in private? Getting drunk is not, I stress
this, illegal: it's only an offense to be a nuisance in public, or operate
certain types of machinery while under the influence.

> or a car that refuses to drive with a drunk driver,

Harder to oppose.

> etc. Is it likely in future that there will be far fewer people in prison
> because more "crimes" will become impossible to commit?

There're some more possibilities you forgot, if you follow this line of
reasoning. Fit all pre-17 year olds with chastity belts because sex before
17 violates the age of consent. Strip-search people every week to look for
suspicious signs that they've been engaging in sadomasochistic sexual
activities that cause physical damage. Ban use of any computer software
that doesn't have a commercial license and a commercial source of origin,
and regularly audit machines to look for illegal content or unlicensed

"We're doing it to protect you" is by far the most insidious excuse for
grotesque totalitarian abuses of civil liberties. And with Jack Straw
running the Home Office, you actually want to *support* this tendency?

-- Charlie

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