03 April, 2006

you're being watched

kiss your privacy goodbye...
Kind of sad that policing the roads is so useless that monitoring devices have to be made mandatory...

Officials are ready to roll out a black box spy system that allows satellites to track each and every driver in the UAE and automatically issue speeding and other tickets for the slightest transgression. The first 10,000 black boxes will be installed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with 700,000 installed by 2009. IBM signed a $125 million contract for the system last April.
The GPS-enabled "Smart Box" will also be used to tax drivers for every mile driven and will be rolled out as car registrations are renewed. The device provides a voice warning if the driver exceeds the local speed limit for wherever he may be driving. If the voice warning is ignored, the system would use a GSM/GPRS link to beam the car's speed, identity and location to the police so that a ticket can be issued. The system would also track and monitor any other driving violations, including "reckless behavior."

Motoring fines in the Gulf are notoriously harsh, with the maximum penalty for red light running set at six months in prison and a 3,000 dirhams fine ($816 US) along with seizure of the vehicle on the first offense. Last month, 94 individuals were arrested for "illegal car washing."



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Also read an article on ibm.com about the project, and it's origins etc etc etc

18 comments:

Tainted Female said...

Well...

I'm pretty sure privacy is a small price to pay for some of the more vocal bitchers & whiners about driving here....

Though I'm sure they'll find reason to bitch about this (solution to their initial complaints?) as well...

samuraisam said...

or the police could do their jobs...

MD said...

i remember seeing this smart box idea thing at last year's gitex. it was developed by two emirati guys from a local university and IBM supported them.

Harsha said...

I've heard a similar system exists in Singapore, not sure though.

Harsha said...

I've heard a similar system exists in Singapore, not sure though.

trailingspouse said...

1984 has arrived. God help us all.

secretdubai said...

Just like the speed-bleepers, anyone rich enough to have a sheikhmobile and therefore sufficient engine power to speed will just have their box deactivated.

marwan said...

What SD said.
Or more likely, they won't even have the box in the first place. After all, who would have the audacity to check?

What next? Installing a little camera int the side pillar, Top-Gear style, so they can ensure we don't commit immoral activities?

marwan said...

And fines can be as 'harsh' as you like (apologies to harsha) but it doesn't matter if you can't make offenders PAY THEM.

John B. Chilton said...

As long as they don't send photos of automobile occupants at 2am in bad neighborhoods and send them to one's home address, I'm sure we're all okay with this.

Secret Dubai: surely you jest. Have you not heard of equality under the law? It's a fundamental precept to a healthy well functioning society and economy.

samurai - This isn't a late April Fool's posting is it?

samuraisam said...

unfortunately not chilton.
This has been planned since 04 iirc.

redstar said...

This isn't a solution to initial complaints, Tainted, it's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

As SD points out, I can't see this kind of technology actually cracking down on the bad guys.

samuraisam said...

it'll definately work against your everyday 'johnny-not-know-how-to-drive'; which in my opinion are the main source of problems.

The thing is, there are already solutions in the police's hand to stop this kind of thing, sadly they aren't using them...

J. Edward Tremlett said...

Oh my gods...

I remember reading about this plan, but I thought it was one of those ideas that get floated and broadcast as impending policy, only to get mooted and quietly dropped in a month or so.

Wait until they use these boxes to charge you a tarrif per kilometer, like they want to do in England.

J

Anonymous said...

I freaked out when I read the post, so I went on searching and this is what I have found! Im glad I have actually searched!

Published on: Tuesday, 4th April, 2006 | Permanent Link | no responses


Private companies are looking at ‘black boxes’ to monitor the behaviour of their drivers, but there are no plans to make the scheme compulsory, an official said last night.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday that up to 10,000 cars in the UAE will be fitted with the satellite trackers - which can issue instant speeding fines - within weeks.

Ultimately all cars would have the system within three years, the paper claimed. But that’s not true, according to Colonel Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, director of Information Technology at Abu Dhabi Police.

“It’s unreasonable to force the costly technology on people because it would put an immense amount of pressure on drivers,” he said.

The technology is more likely to be adopted by companies that operate fleets of vehicles – taxi or lorry operators for example – who want to ensure their drivers stick to the traffic rules.

David Hall, vice president of CERT, the company developing the technology, said a few hundred would be fitted to test vehicles within the next month. “We have agreed to supply four private companies in the UAE with 10,000 boxes to manage their own fleets within the next 12 months,” Hall said.

“At the moment, we have no contracts with anybody in the government,” Hall added. The ‘black boxes’ would use GPS satellites to monitor a car’s movements. It would be possible to tell when a driver breaks the speed limit, and even if he or she takes a corner too fast.

A verbal warning could be played over the car’s radio, and a fine could even be issued automatically. Earlier reports had suggested that the scheme could become compulsory, installed when drivers go to reregister their vehicles.

The UK government is understood to be interested in the technology, and Saudi Arabia is also said to be considering it. The UAE’s roads are the third most dangerous in the world, according to United Nations statistics, with more than 21 deaths per 100,000 people.

Almost one person died every day on Dubai’s roads in the first two months of this year, according to police figures.
(http://www.7days.ae/2006/04/04/no-big-brother-for-uae-drivers.html)

Anonymous said...

Seems like they've given up on addressing/fixing the real problem and are throwing (a lot of) money at it trying to buy themselves a fix, which probably won't work, like so much else here. This is like so much else in these parts, stick your head in the sand and pay for a quick fix...

Tim Newman said...

And these black boxes are going to stop illegal carwashing? I'm intrigued. What does it do, trundle over to the tap and switch it off?

Lil' RiveR said...

I'm sure they won't make it compulsory.
All the "big guys" didnt buy fast cars to follow speed limits, I'm sure they'll find a way to get around it or they'll just make it optional for drivers.

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