November 2, 2011

If you’re the kind of person who mostly leaves their car in the garage, always drives prudently and safely, never exceeds the speed limit, is never where they shouldn’t be, doesn’t care who knows what about them, and wants to shave a few quid off their motor insurance premium, then telematics could be for you. Bankstone News, alas, is not that person. Telematics gives Bankstone News the collywobbles.

Ten years on from now, Big Brother will have regained his original Orwellian character. Those of us who still remember how to think will all be very worried about him. It will already be too late. Barring technology-melting global Armageddon (currently reckoned to be less than a 31% probability in the next decade), we will all be so hopelessly enmeshed in the digital data-gathering nexus of our e-enabled lives that unspoken thoughts and dreams will be the only forms of social deviancy we stand any chance of getting away with.

A few years back, Bankstone News heard a senior policeman defending the use of model-aeroplane surveillance drones by arguing that only those with something to hide could possibly object to their use. When challenged to the effect that the public would rather see more ‘bobbies on the beat’ than airborne cameras buzzing past their bathroom windows, he sympathised solemnly, adding the superbly ironic assertion that “In an ideal world there would be more policemen.”

But technology’s a far far cheaper way of keeping tabs. Speed cameras and CCTV are child’s play compared with the total surveillance data set your car, your phone, your home will serve up to the government agencies and corporations with whom you have no legal option but to interface. So why hold back? Telematicise yourself today.

The AA reckons it is going to be rolling out 30,000 Wunelli boxes next year in a scheme underwritten by Group Armagh, Markerstudly and Sabre. Each little spy will keep track of users’ driving speed, braking intensity, cornering, location and time – and much much more besides, for all Bankstone News knows.

Meanwhile BMW announced this week that it will pre-install telematics software in all its new cars from 2015 onwards. According to Insurance Times the providers of the telematics devices installed would then “download all the data and pass it on to insurers for underwriting and claims.” While they’re at it, they will probably want to install intelligent speed limiting devices to ensure BMW drivers are never again able to commit the inadvertent offence of exceeding legal speed limits, away with which they will certainly not be getting in the future.


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