A bold proposal from a French software executive. Every vehicle in France, he says, should ping its location every five seconds. That way, authorities can take down their radar and the speed traps. Instead of selective enforcement of speeding laws, the government will know exactly who is speeding and when, and can simply mail the tickets or add them to the tax bill. They can also take down the toll booths and optimize traffic patterns, reducing pollution.

So, I sputter, what about privacy?

He admits that his French friends are concerned that such surveillance will derail romantic forays. But he insists that they already squander their privacy by carrying cell phones, which transmit our coordinates 24/7. So why not wring some social benefits from it?

I was thinking about this as I was driving out to Pittsburgh this morning (and racing past speed traps on the Pennsylvania Turnpike). No, I don't want my speed monitored. I don't think many people do. But the more relevant question is this: Do you want speeding monitored (and controlled) on highways where your kids and other loved ones are driving?

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