Markey, Blumenthal Call on Transportation Department to Promote Vehicle Cybersecurity and Protect Occupants’ Privacy

Senators have introduced legislation to establish federal standards to secure cars from cyberattack and protect drivers’ privacy

Boston (December 13, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that robust cybersecurity and privacy protections are put in place before automakers deploy vehicle-2-vehicle and vehicle-2-infrastructure communication technologies.  Today, the DOT released a proposed rule that may require new light-duty vehicles to have vehicle-2-vehicle communication technologies, which use communications technologies to share speed, direction data, and other transportation information to prevent accidents and reduce congestion. 

“While these new technologies have the potential to save lives, security and privacy cannot be an afterthought in this new era of connected cars,” said Senators Markey and Blumenthal.  “If hackers access a vehicle’s systems, privacy could be compromised, the safety of the vehicle could be put at risk and disaster could ensue. As this important rulemaking proceeds, we call on the Department of Transportation to ensure that vehicles have robust cybersecurity and privacy protections in place before automakers deploy vehicle-2-vehicle and vehicle-2-infrastructure communication technologies.” 

 

In August, the Senators sent a letter encouraging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider taking a number of steps to protect consumers’ safety and privacy as car manufacturers deploy vehicle-2-vehicle and vehicle-2-infrastructure technologies in their automobiles.

 

In July 2015, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, legislation that would direct the National Highway Traffic and Safety administration and the Federal Trade Commission to establish federal standards to secure our cars and protect drivers’ privacy. The SPY Car Act also establishes a rating system — or “cyber dashboard”— that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers’ security and privacy beyond those minimum standards.

 

 In 2015, Senator Markey released the report Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk, which detailed major gaps in how auto companies are securing connected features in cars against hackers. For example, only two of the 16 car companies had developed any capability to detect and respond to a hacking attack in real time and, and most customers don’t even know that their information is being collected and sent to third parties.

 

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