Sen. Markey released report this week that revealed wireless technologies are leading to a host of automobile security and privacy vulnerabilities


Washington (February 11, 2015) – At today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the “Internet of Things”, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced legislation that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards to secure our cars and protect drivers’ privacy. Senator Markey’s report, Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk outlined how automobile manufacturers have not addressed the real possibilities of hacker infiltration into vehicle systems in vehicles that have fully adopted wireless technologies. The report also details the widespread collection of driver and vehicle information, without privacy protections for how that information is shared and used.


“We need the electronic equivalent of seat belts and airbags to keep drivers and their information safe in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey.“There are currently no rules of the road for how to protect driver and passenger data, and most customers don’t even know that their information is being collected and sent to third parties. These new requirements will include a set of minimum standards to protect driver security and privacy in every new vehicle. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to advance this important consumer protection legislation.” 


“Connected cars represent tremendous social and economic promise, but in the rush to roll out the next big thing automakers have left the doors unlocked to would-be cybercriminals,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This common-sense legislation would ensure that drivers can trust the convenience of wireless technology, without having to fear incursions on their safety or privacy by hackers and criminals.” 


At the hearing, Senator Markey outlined the security and privacy performance standards in the legislation, including:


·      Requirement that all wireless access points in the car are protected against hacking attacks, evaluated using penetration testing;

·      Requirement that all collected information is appropriately secured and encrypted to prevent unwanted access; and;

·      Requirement that the manufacturer or third-party feature provider be able to detect, report and respond to real-time hacking events.


·      Transparency requirement that drivers are made explicitly aware of data collection, transmission, and use of driving information;

·      Consumers can choose whether data is collected without having to disable navigation; and

·      Prohibition on the use of personal driving information for advertising or marketing purposes.


The legislation will also call for new cars to be evaluated by a rating system—a “cyber dashboard”—that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers beyond those minimum standards.  This information will be displayed on the label of all new vehicles – just as fuel economy is today.