On Monday, the Future of Privacy Forum submitted written comments to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in response to their request for input on the benefits and privacy and security issues associated with current and future motor vehicles.
FPF commends the FTC and NHTSA for working together to host a public workshop focused on privacy and security issues related to connected vehicles. It is a valuable opportunity to expand the dialogue among regulators, industry, and advocates regarding expectations for consumer privacy in a rapidly evolving field.
As the automotive sector becomes more data-intensive, conversations of this kind are vital for fostering informed and constructive consumer protections. We look forward to participating in the workshop. Below, we highlight several items for consideration by the agencies and for the workshop.
FPF recommends that the FTC and NHTSA:
- highlight the importance of transparency and communication around consumer data use, including through the provision of clear user interfaces and resources that are: 1) publicly available; 2) accessible before purchase; 3) reviewable throughout the life of a vehicle; as well as the incorporation of consumer privacy controls when appropriate
- understand the importance of distinguishing between types of data in the vehicle context for any regulatory approaches to privacy (i.e. between data that is operationally critical or not, personally identifiable or not, sensitive or not), as well as the importance of accurately mapping data flows in a vehicle before apportioning responsibility between actors;
- encourage alignment between federal and state regulatory guidance and encourage industry self-regulatory efforts;
- consider the risks of connected vehicle data collection by state and local regulators, and propose guidance resources to support these regulators in data management best practices;
- monitor new entrants to the market that may seek to monetize connected vehicle data without fully understanding existing consumer protections; and
- recognize that this technological shift will have impacts beyond the automotive sector, particularly in the insurance and credit industries.
A cohosted workshop by NHTSA and the FTC is an important step in enabling advocates, industry, and consumers to build an understanding of the regulatory landscape of this rapidly evolving sector. We commend the agencies for working together, and we look forward to participating in the beginning of this dialogue around an emerging field.
FPF’s extensive work in this area includes:
- Comments written in response to NHTSA’s Request for Comment on Vehicle to Vehicle Rulemaking, “FMVSS No. 150, V2V Communications,” available at https://fpf.org/2017/04/13/fpf-comments-nhtsas-v2v-rulemaking/
- Launch of a first-of-its kind consumer guide, Personal Data In Your Car, a first-of-its kind effort to inform consumer about the privacy impacts of automotive technologies, in partnership the National Automobile Dealers Association. The Guide is available at fpf.org/consumerguide
- Comments written in response to NHTSA’s Request for Comment on the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, available at: https://fpf.org/2016/11/22/fpf-submits-comments-on-nhtsas-federal-automated-vehicles-policy/
- An academic paper, Shades of Gray: Seeing the Full Spectrum of Practical Data De-identification, which suggests that rather than treat personal data as a black or white dichotomy, policymakers should view data in various shades of gray; and provides guidance on where to place important legal and technical boundaries between categories of identifiability, available at http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/lawreview/vol56/iss3/3.
- A white paper, The Connected Car And Privacy, Navigating New Data Issues, which surveys the collection of data inside the vehicle ecosystem and explores how connectivity and the connected car augment or change how that information is collected and eventually used, available at https://fpf.org/2014/11/13/new-fpf-paper-the-connected-car-and-privacy-navigating-new-data-issues/
- Launch of an interactive Smart Cities infographic, which maps the vast and growing network of connected technologies that power new and innovative services. The infographic includes a compilation of privacy best practices, highlights the role of smart transportation technologies in smart cities, and provides privacy-specific guidance for connected transportation systems, available at https://fpf.org/smart-city-privacy/
- Hosting stakeholder convenings with carmakers, suppliers and technology leaders to advance the conversation around the management and use of personal information across the connected vehicle ecosystem. These events include a roundtable on data and the future of mobilityin Silicon Valley and a conversation on privacy and the connected vehicle in Detroit.
Our analyses are based on our own research, as well as interactions with members of industry, academics, advocates, and regulators.