By Bo Brake
In this episode of “Black Mirror” titled “Mastercar,” cars have been installed with license plates that can track the movements of cars and individuals in them.
I got this idea because of how prevalent internet-connected cars are today, and I thought about how the government might be able to use that technology without us knowing they were looking in on us.
Sam and Dave are two friends, who after Sam’s recent purchase of a new car, set off on a road trip from New York to California. While both are aware of the government GPS that comes with all new cars via the license plates, they aren’t worried because they figure it’s a free country; they can do what they want.
Shortly into their trip, however, a gas shortage begins, and they are soon stuck waiting long hours for gas as they travel across the country. Later, as they are driving through Texas, the government announces that all cars equipped with the government GPS must follow the routes designated by that system to save gas. There will be punishments for those don’t follow the law.
Sam and Dave continue frustrated by their newfound lack of freedom, which they saw as a reason for the road trip. As they grow frustrated with their inability to drive where they want, both decide to disregard the GPS as they figure there are too many cars for the government to keep track of.
A few hours after disregarding the law, they are quickly apprehended by government agents who accuse them of numerous crimes. The episode ends with both Sam and Dave seemingly in a prison where they are seen making license plates.
This episode is supposed to play off our fears of what happens when governments use technology to limit our freedoms and suppress people. While not an extreme episode, the realistic possibility of something like a government issued GPS that is used to spy on and control the population by posing as something that’s not threatening is something that will entice viewers.