The starter interrupt device

car accident scene

Technology has a way of failing itself when it is abused. For example, the starter interrupt device (SID), also known as the remote immobilization system, which was created as a theft prevention device for vehicles. This piece of technology engineering has caused much controversy in the automotive industry.

The starter interrupt device (SID) is a controller that enables a disable function of the starter in a vehicle. The device is found as a black box under vehicle dashboards and responds to commands issued through a central website, over a wireless network.

The starter interrupt device can be found in many used old model high-end vehicles. As such, these vehicles, can easily become a death trap when the starter interrupt device disables the starter in traffic or near airports; as all wireless technology disables when planes cross over them.

In 2010, Wired released news of an alleged hacker disabling vehicles remotely. The alleged hacker was determined to be a disgruntled worker that formerly worked in a well-known auto center in Austin, Texas. Austin Police stated the alleged hacker disabled over one hundred cars by obtaining passwords and customer information through another employee’s access account. However, this is not the only computer intrusion situation that the starter interrupt device (SID) has created in the automotive industry.

Nearly 75 percent of all squad cars in the U.S. were equipped with starter interrupt device (SID) control in 2010, which placed computer functions in squad cars that automatically disable computer keyboards and touchscreens when the car is moving more than 15 miles per hour. A 2011 analysis of police crashes in Minnesota found that 14 percent of all crashes were caused by distracted police officers, and half were due to being distracted by in-car computers.

In 2014, RT World News released information indicating that law enforcement proposed to utilize starter interrupt device control on citizens’ vehicles stating, “remote control of car electronics is far from a novel theory; cars can communicate with wireless technology.” The goal was to mandate equipment in all cars sold in the Union with devices which would allow police to remotely disable engines. University of California in San Diego and Washington University later released test results indicating “computer intrusion by law enforcement can easily interfere with safety-critical systems like brakes” for citizens.

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