The Times reports again on the wishful thinking by the Department of Transport that there will somehow be a magical technological fix to the fundamental flaws in their self inflicted National Road Tolling schemes.
£700 in-car box would jam spy-in-sky road toll satellite
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
The Times , August 8, 2007
Motorists who want to evade pay-as-you-drive tolls are being offered a new device that would shield their cars from the satellites used to track their movements.
But those tempted to pay £700 for the small metal box, which plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter, will find that the Government is already devising ways of catching those who try to cheat the system.
Nothing has changed since our discussions on Spy Blog about this topic back in 2004, when Alistair Darling, who is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer was promoting the plan, without any clue about the limitations of the technology.- Alistair Darling's satellite tracking road toll plans - another Big Brother surveillance system
The jamming device emits a signal that would prevent the black box from communicating with the satellite. The charging system would assume that the car was stationary even when it was moving and would not charge the driver for journeys.
But a DfT spokesman said that the team preparing for the introduction of tolls had considered how to prevent drivers from using such devices.
He said: “There is no point in using one of these devices because while they may block the satellite signal they do this by broadcasting their own signal which can easily be detected.”
Really ? How ? The GPS signal from the satellites in orbit is incredibly weak by the time it gets to the surface of the earth, and it does not take much power to jam or spoof the local signal within a vehicle, especially with the use of some cheap metal shielding to cut off the real satellite signal from the "black box" antenna..
If such In Car Units for Road Tolling are ever inflicted on millions of motorists, there will be not simply crude GPS jamming devices but GSP signal spoofing devices which will feed GPS coordinates into the In Car Unit which appear to show genuine journeys in zero or low tarriff zones or during off peak time periods.
If the Government goes ahead with these creepy mass surveillance plans, then these undetectable GPS spoofing devices will be available at far lower cost than £700, due to the economies of scale.
Remember also, that once the market for such electronic devices has been artificially created by the Government bureaucracy, they will also be used directly or adapted for use, by convicted criminals and unconvicted terrorist suspects etc. who are electronically tagged with combined mobile phone / GPS satellite electronic tags who will be able to fool the weak monitoring systems to a greater extent than even now.