One of the most frequent predictions for significant growth in 2018 is the development of the connected car ecosystem. During the second half of 2017, there were workshops, proposed legislation and other guidance from the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In June 2017, the FTC and the NHTSA hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C. to discuss the enormous amounts of data collected and used in the connected car ecosystem. The workshop included representatives from consumer groups, industry, government and academia, and explored the benefits and challenges in this fast-growing market. After reviewing the materials submitted in connection with the workshop, the FTC released its Key Takeaways earlier this month.
In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3388, the SELF DRIVE (Safely Ensuring Lives Future Development and Research in Vehicle Evolution) Act to encourage testing, development and deployment of highly automated vehicles. Finally, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA released new federal guidance for automated vehicles titled Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3388, the “Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act” or the “SELF DRIVE Act” last month. The bill would remove regulatory barriers to develop self-driving or autonomous cars by giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) authority to establish federal safety, design, and performance standards for automated cars, excluding commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses. States would still be responsible for the vehicle registration, driver’s licensing, insurance, and safety and emissions inspections. The bill would also allow states to impose stricter performance requirements than those set by NHTSA.
We have outlined the privacy and cybersecurity provisions of this bill, as well as the NHTSA’s voluntary security standards for self-driving cars.
Connected car data protection generated significant discussion amongst people at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. The 39th annual conference brought together privacy and data protection authorities (DPAs) from around the world in Hong Kong in September. Consistent with prior tradition, the “closed sessions” produced three separate nonbinding resolutions.
It’s not news that various branches of the federal government have been studying a range of privacy and consumer safety issues that arise with ever more connected vehicles. What is new is the Government Accounting Office (GAO)’s report to the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Committee on Science, Space and Technology about how current passenger vehicle manufacturers address the many privacy issues that arise with connected vehicle use.
GAO interviewed industry associations and organizations that work on privacy issues and also interviewed 16 automakers that were selected based on their U.S. passenger vehicle sales. GAO reviewed the written privacy policies of the automakers against a set of leading privacy practices and issued a report, Vehicle Data Privacy: Industry and Federal Efforts Under Way but NHTSA Needs to Define its Role, on August 28, 2017.