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Old 11-18-2008, 01:10 PM   #1
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Default Brazil: Every Vehicle To Get Tracking Devices as Theft and Kidnapping Rates Soar

ÃO PAULO, Brazil — With kidnapping and car robbery becoming more and more common in major cities here, Brazilian authorities have announced a plan to install automobile and motorcycle trackers on every new vehicle in the country, starting in August 2009. If the initiative succeeds, it could add a new tool in the arsenal of international anti-terrorism efforts, since vehicles are a major means those criminals use to carry out bomb attacks.

Already in Brazil, as many as 1.2 to 1.5 million vehicles are already being tracked by private specialized tracking systems. Car robberies, kidnapping and even cargo thefts — trucks are major transporters of goods in this continent-size country — are among the crimes targeted by the defenders of the installation of tracking devices. Many Brazilian insurance companies offer the installation of tracking systems in cars with a lower fee as the reward.

Brazil has developed specific technology and has existing companies with complex tracking networks that the CIA would envy, but the technology has been used to date mainly for trucks carrying valuable cargo, not for passenger vehicles.

The national automakers' group, the Motor Vehicle National Industry Association (Anfavea) had originally proposed putting tracking equipment into 20 percent of new vehicles — the higher-end models — starting next August and doubling the number to 40 percent in January 2010 until finally putting the equipment into all new vehicles in August 2010. Instead, the legislation starts in August 2009 and covers the entire vehicle range immediately.

Industry analysts have pointed out that the car owner will not be required to activate a satellite tracking service — which would make the new device nothing but extra weight on board. Also, the cost of all cars and motorcycles would increase. There are even technical issues: Since factories will standardize the installation of the tracking devices, what's to stop criminals from removing them from the car immediately?

Yet on the other hand, if factories make it impossible to locate and steal, how will the authorities ensure it has been installed on the vehicles? All of these issues should take a while for the country's auto manufacturers to iron out. In the meantime, new-vehicle buyers may be able to rest more easily knowing their vehicles have this extra security equipment.
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