Police today accuse Amazon and eBay of fuelling a car crime ‘epidemic’ by selling gadgets that allow thieves to hack into keyless vehicles.
They are urging the internet giants to ban the sale of the devices in an attempt to crack down on soaring levels of a crime that had been declining.
Police are particularly concerned about ‘key programmers’, which can be bought for less than £30 on Amazon and eBay and can clone the fobs used in keyless cars.
Criminals also use ‘relay boxes’, which can be bought on the websites for £260. These let thieves pick up the signal from a car’s fob inside the owner’s home.
So these have no legitimate use?
David Jamieson, police and crime commissioner of the West Midlands, has written to Amazon and eBay saying ‘items advertised on your site … are seriously contributing to an increase in car thefts’.
He added: ‘Vehicle theft is now becoming an epidemic. I am therefore asking you to stop selling devices known as key programmers.
‘These key cloning tools, whilst legal and often used legitimately by car mechanics, auto locksmiths and dealers, are also increasingly used by criminals.’
Ah. Of course, they do have a legitimate use.
I guess if this works, Cressida will be writing to Sainsbury & Tesco to stop selling knives. And then Ford and BMW to stop selling cars. Then the police can just sit around with their feet up trawling Facebook for hurty words.
Police are also furious that car makers refuse to take responsibility for the rise in keyless fob hacking.
Executives from firms including Ford, Audi and Mercedes have been summoned to a meeting with West Midlands Police next week to discuss the matter.
They should tell them they are washing their hair. Jesus wept, who the hell are they to summon anyone who has committed no crime?
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said new technology in cars ‘has helped bring down theft dramatically … [but] we continue to call for stronger safeguards to prevent the sale of cloning technologies, signal blocking and other devices that have no legal purpose.’
Can’t you read, Mike? They do have a legal purpose!
Last night eBay said it had already banned the sale of these devices despite police finding them on its website.
It added that anyone who put them up for sale could have them removed and action taken against them.
Amazon declined to comment.
I’m with Amazon. If there’s a problem with these items then, like guns, it’s in the hands of the one wielding them, not the tool itself.