The European Union is secretly developing a “remote stopping” device that would be fitted to all cars and allow police to disable vehicles at the flick of a switch.
Confidential documents from a committee of senior EU police officers, who meet in secret, set out the plan as part of wider law enforcement surveillance and tracking measures.
“The project will work on a technological solution that can be a ‘build in standard’ for all cars that enter the European market,” said the document.
The devices, which could be in all new cars by the end of the decade, would be activated by a police officer working from a computer in a central control room. Once enabled, the suspect vehicle’s fuel supply would be cut and the ignition switched off, bringing it to a halt.
The technology, scheduled for a six-year development timetable, is aimed at bringing dangerous high-speed car chases to an end and to make redundant techniques such as spiking tyres.
The proposal was outlined as part of the “key objectives” for the European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies (Enlets), an offshoot of a European working party aimed at enhancing police cooperation across the EU.
Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring police powers, state surveillance and civil liberties in the EU, has leaked the documents amid concerns that the technology poses a serious threat to civil liberties.