Big Brother CARB Is Watching You

FEB. 3, 2012


I love cars. The best auto site in the Internet is He writes not just about old and new cars, but about the politics of cars.

Another great site,, just published an article by Peters on how the government is spying on us through the dozens of little computers that now run modern cars. One of Big Brother’s biggest helpers is the California Air Resources Board. CARB not only imposes excruciating regulations because of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (even though global “warming” has been disproved). It also micro-manages vehicles.

This isn’t paranoia. It’s government policy that’s out in the open. Things could get worse once the government imposes OBD III — On Board Diagnostics III. A better name for it would be Orwellian Bad Diagnostics III.

Before getting to Eric’s article, let’s see what the U.S. government says about it. The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site explains: “On-Board Diagnostics, or ‘OBD,’ is a computer-based system built into all 1996 and later light-duty vehicles and trucks, as required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. OBD systems are designed to monitor the performance of some of an engine’s major components including those responsible for controlling emissions.”

That means the edicts were signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, in case you thought Republicans were any better than Democrats.

The EPA site adds: “For State Agencies:

* “OBD plays an important role where vehicle inspection and maintenance programs are required.

* “This site will help you find information on program implementation guidance and outreach materials to help raise awareness about OBD in your state or locality.”

Currently, we’re still in OBD II. But the even more Orwellian OBD III is just around the corner. Eric writes, “Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth — the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which sets the trend for what inevitably becomes national when it comes to emissions rigmarole.”

CARB Edicts

He then quotes CARB, which writes: “If the inspection process could be automated through the use of transponder-assisted on-board diagnostic systems (in what could become an OBD-III requirement or program), the process could be made less costly and time-consuming. ” (Italics added by Peters.)

Peters explains: “If it comes to pass, OBD III will be the keystone that assures the end of any expectation of privacy behind the wheel (in addition to everywhere else) and it will also obviate the quaint notion that it’s your car — and hence, private property. Hence, hands off. SEMA’s fact sheet about OBD III notes this directly, stating that OBD III would impose what amounts to “sanctions based on ‘suspicionless mass surveillance’ of private property” and would also be ‘random,’ with the actual monitoring taking place before the computer throws any codes — and so, bereft of probable cause and thus a pretty clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

The Fourth Amendment guarantees, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

But the Fourth Amendment effectively has been repealed, despite some modest remaining protections. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that police cannot snap a GPS tracking device to your vehicle with out a court order. However, if OBD III becomes operative, such a device effectively already would be hard-wired into your flivver, so no warrant will be required.

Old Cars

One way around the new super-Orwellian vehicle spying is to get a car from before about 1979, when the earliest computers first were installed. A car like the beautiful 54 Packard in the picture. Peters recommends doing that. And he wrote a great article showing how you can update on an old car to make it more fuel-efficient.

Yet, in his more recent article, Peters warns that the government effectively may outlaw older cars. No doubt the auto industry would cheer, as people then would be forced to buy more new cars, just as happened during the Cash for Clunkers program. That program ended up driving up the price of used cars so much that friends of mine haven’t been able to afford a car. President Obama and the others who imposed this program know only their rich donors, and are ignorant of the millions of people their policies had thrown out of work but are now trying to get back on their feet again financially.

Peters warns that the regime also could go after old cars: “Here is the backdoor that will be used to effectively outlaw older cars, including antique cars — but also just older late-model cars. They won’t be prohibited outright, probably. Rather, they will be prohibited from being used for everyday transportation. You’ll be allowed to keep your pre-OBD III car. You just won’t be allowed to drive it — except, perhaps, to the occasional old car show. Or they may just require that all pre-OBD III cars be ‘retired’ after a certain period — and then rendered inoperable by having their engines filled with silica or some such, a la Cash for Clunkers.

“In this way, everyone will be forced into the system of mass control/mass surveillance. It has been a source of frustration in certain quarters that it’s still possible for the average citizen to drive a car built before catalytic converters and computers (and air bags and all the rest of it) became mandatory or de facto mandatory. There are dangerous asocial types out there who prefer such cars, which are paid-for, simpler and can often be kept running for years for next to nothing. That annoys both the TPTB — and probably also the car industry, which wants you in a new car, not a paid-for older car. The big combines will be among the most ardent proponents not merely of OBD III — but that cars without OBD III be ‘retired’.”

Big Brother not only is watching you. He’s the nastiest backseat driver ever.


Write a comment
  1. David H
    David H 3 February, 2012, 09:14

    We will need a tin foil hat for our vehicles ;-/ Next they will put microchips in your Nike shoes all on the premise that it will reduce the costs of public safety.

    Reply this comment
  2. HombreLibre
    HombreLibre 3 February, 2012, 10:32

    Well, since we are already being “passively” surveilled with our mobile phones and ATM/credit card transactions, why not cars too? David H. is right about the microchips in the Nike shoes; the federalized healthcare system will use it to make sure that people are maintaining the government mandated minimum activity levels. Think about it…

    Reply this comment
  3. Jeannie
    Jeannie 3 February, 2012, 10:36

    This is absolutely outrageous. How does an agency that we don’t elect have so much power. No doubt a lawsuit will have to be filed to stop it…

    Reply this comment
  4. queeg
    queeg 3 February, 2012, 20:47

    They just started…2012 is a biggie for the carbaholics!!!

    Your barbecue, fireplace, leaking door and window insulation will doom you!!!

    Reply this comment
  5. Bill-San Jose
    Bill-San Jose 3 February, 2012, 22:17

    I will be purchasing my 1965 Cadillac by the end of this year.

    CARB is criminal and at the every least communistic control over regulations that do not get reviews by our political structure in any true sense.

    Reply this comment

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