Senator plans to release findings from investigation of automotive industry privacy and security practices


Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers today issued a set of privacy principles for data generated by vehicle technologies and services.  


“The privacy principles put forth by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers represent an important first step toward protecting the information collected by modern technology in our cars. Putting limits on the use of geolocation information for marketing purposes and providing consumers with access to the collected information are fundamental to empowering consumers and ensuring their privacy.  


“However, the proposed principles fall short in two key areas:  choice and transparency. It is unclear how auto companies will make their data collection practices transparent beyond including the information in vehicle owner manuals, and the principles do not provide consumers with a choice whether sensitive information is collected in the first place.  As vehicles are equipped with 21st century wireless technology, we need auto companies to make security and privacy as standard as seatbelts and stereos for drivers and their vehicles. 


“In the coming weeks, I plan to release the findings of my investigation into the privacy and security practices in the automotive industry, and I will call for clear rules – not voluntary commitments – to ensure the privacy and safety of American drivers is protected.” 


In December 2013, Senator Markey sent letters to 20 major automobile manufacturers requesting information about how consumers are protected from cyberattack or unwarranted violations of privacy. In the letters, the Senator requested information on vulnerabilities in automotive technology, assessments or testing of vulnerabilities in technology, and information that may be collected, recorded or stored by navigation or other technology in vehicles.