Senator calls for self-driving vehicle regulations

During a Senate subcommittee hearing, a legislator pushed for security protections in internet-connected vehicles. “The Internet of Things leads also to the Internet of Threats,” said Sen. Ed Markey.
During a Senate subcommittee hearing, a legislator pushed for security protections in internet-connected vehicles. “The Internet of Things leads also to the Internet of Threats,” said Sen. Ed Markey.

During a Senate subcommittee hearing, a legislator pushed for security protections in internet-connected vehicles.

“The Internet of Things leads also to the Internet of Threats, because obviously every vehicle that has the Internet built into it then becomes subject to hacking,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), during the Surface Transportation subcommittee hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation on Tuesday.

Markey warned that security protections “cannot be an afterthought.” He mentioned one previously reported  vulnerability that allowed security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek to control a Jeep Cherokee's engine, transmission, wheels and brakes remotely through the vehicle's in-car entertainment system.

“We have to ensure that robust cybersecurity protection build into these technologies right from the beginning,” he added. “That means we need enforceable rules of the road to protect driver privacy and security.”

Last year, Markey sponsored legislation to establish a rating system that provides information to customers about vehicle protections of security and privacy.

The cybersecurity dangers of automated vehicles have already attracted the attention of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Transportation (DoT). In March, the FBI and the DoT warned automotive manufactures and consumers that vulnerabilities in connected automobiles could allow cybercriminals to remotely access vehicle controls and systems.

A month later, a Government Accountability Office issued a report calling on the DOT to develop a response strategy for the potential of an auto cyber-attack.

During Tuesday's hearing, DOT assistant secretary for transportation policy Carlos Monje said the agency is working closely with the FTC to ensure the protection of “consumers from hacking, tampering, or tracking”.

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