WASHINGTON -- A duo of U.S. senators want new-vehicle stickers to include a “cyber dashboard” that would include ratings for security systems designed to protect cars and light trucks from hackers and for privacy controls that safeguard vehicle data.
Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday that a bill they’re proposing would also direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to write new rules requiring all new cars to have minimum data privacy and security protocols. The vehicle ratings would be based on those standards.
The proposed legislation seeks to prohibit the use of “personal driving information” for advertising and marketing purposes, according to a joint statement from the senators.
Under the bill, consumers would also be allowed to choose whether their data can be collected without disabling a vehicle’s navigation system and drivers would be made “explicitly aware of data collection, transmission and use,” the statement said.
For security, the bill would also mandate that all wireless access points in a car be protected from hackers, that driving data collected by the car be encrypted and that automakers be able to detect, report and respond to a hacker accessing a car’s systems in real time.
In a statement, Markey said the rules outlined in the coming bill were digital-age counterparts to seatbelts and airbags.
“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,” Markey said. “These new requirements will include a set of minimum standards to protect driver security and privacy in every new vehicle.”
The coming legislation follows a report about automotive data security released by Markey on Monday that found vehicles with wireless connectivity are vulnerable to hackers and that automakers have failed to create a standardized approach to protecting data collected by vehicle systems.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufactures and Global Automakers, the industry’s two main trade associations in Washington, D.C., spent months last year crafting a set of voluntary privacy principles to address the kind of concerns expressed by Markey.
Most automakers have signed on to the principles, which were crafted in part with the hope that voluntarily committing to privacy protections would help the industry avoid new privacy regulations that could stifle innovation.