As technology generally continues to advance, one thing you can be sure of is the criminal justice system’s use of innovative new “tools” will grow exponentially. This can be a good thing, but it can also be a very dangerous thing. Pennsylvania’s new law that permits the use of data showing whether people are “deemed likely to commit additional crimes” in criminal sentencing, is a perfect example of how an over reliance on technology can be a threat to liberty and due process.
Welcome to the future, ladies and gentleman.
A driver allegedly involved in two hit-and-run incidents was tracked down after her car alerted the police.
As reported by local news outlets, an unusual 911 call to emergency services took place on Friday in Port St. Lucie, Florida. You would usually expect a human voice on the end of the line, but in this scenario, a Ford vehicle alerted the police to a collision.
57-year-old woman Cathy Bernstein allegedly hit a truck before ploughing into a van on Prima Vista Boulevard, fleeing the scene after each collision. While Bernstein allegedly ran for the hills, her car had already recorded the crash and automatically contacted 911 after recording the time and date of the collision.
The car’s safety features, used by by Ford, BMW and other automakers, make use of sensors and Internet connectivity to shave down the time emergency responders take to get to the scene of an accident.
As an example, Ford’s SYNC‘s Emergency Assistance portal pushes the car to send a direct call to emergency services when the airbag is deployed or the fuel pump is deactivated — such as when a car suffers a sudden jolt against an object.
The system also gives 911 information including the car model, time, and GPS coordinates.
Usually, this would mean that drivers involved in an accident who are knocked out or cannot reach for their phones can be assisted as quickly as possible. However, in the case of hit-and-run drivers there will be nowhere to hide — as their car may snitch on them. You are automatically linked to a record of a collision’s time, the vehicle involved — and therefore the accompanying registration details — and the location.
By 2018, every new vehicle sold within the grasp of the European Union must have this kind of emergency responder technology installed. While originally planned for 2015, despite delays, the EU says eCall emergency responder technology could save up to 2,500 lives a year.
It’s a brave new world out there.