Dec. 10, 2018


Consumer Privacy Again at Risk Unless Congress Revises Proposed Automated Vehicle Legislation

Consumer protection and privacy rights organizations, representing millions of members and supporters, released a letter today expressing concern that self-driving car legislation under consideration in Congress would preempt state consumer and data privacy protections.

The AV Start Act, S. 1885, opens the door wide for auto and transportation network companies to exploit their customers through weak provisions related to data mining, which is the practice of collecting large amounts of consumer data to later examine for new information to use to make larger profits. The groups are united in asking that the Congress not move forward on S. 1885 until privacy concerns are resolved.

The main privacy-related concern is that the draft bill would pre-empt state laws and regulations to protect consumer privacy, prevent data breaches and prevent misuse of personal information.

Industry data-mining and exploitation “efforts are already underway,” the groups’ letter states. “In October, the Detroit Free Press reported that, on an experimental basis, (General Motors) tracked radio listening habits in an effort that one analyst called a forerunner of plans to ‘actively monetize their data from their connected vehicles.’” And Ford CEO Jim Hackett recently stated, “We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. … The issue in the vehicle, see, is: We already know and have data on our customers. … And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”

View the letter (PDF).