The Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are teaming up to hold a workshop on June 28, 2017 related to privacy and security issues posed by connected vehicles.  The FTC has requested that comments related to this issue be submitted online or by mail by May 1.

“Connected vehicles” include most modern vehicles that are equipped with some form of wireless technology.  In some cases, this wireless technology may enable a vehicle to communicate with another vehicle, known as vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) communication, or with the roadway infrastructure.  As we reported in our annual edition of Data Privacy: The Current Legal Landscape, the NHTSA is currently considering mandating V2V communications for new light consumer vehicles.

“Autonomous vehicles” are a subset of connected vehicles and include those vehicles in which a critical safety control or function is performed without human intervention.  Automating these controls and functions can reduce or eliminate the traditional human-error component of driving a vehicle, but can also present other problems.  For example, the sheer amount of personal and sensitive data, like geographic location and driver communication data, could be targeted by hackers.  Therefore, securing this data from vulnerabilities will be a key component of emerging connected vehicle technology.  It is these issues and more that the FTC and NHTSA would like to explore more during their workshop.

Specifically, the FTC and NHTSA would like to address – and have requested information on – the following:

  • What data is collected, stored, transmitted and shared by connected vehicles;
  • How data collection can be a benefit;
  • What challenges may be encountered with the technology;
  • Self-regulatory standards that may be employed; and
  • How privacy and security will be addressed by various key sector participants, including vehicle manufacturers, technology companies, and government agencies.

The Cyber Security, Information Governance & Privacy team at Troutman Sanders monitors developments related to connected devices and vehicles, and routinely advises clients on best practices, developing security standards, and addressing new and emerging threats.