Senator calls for national automotive cybersecurity lab

U.S. senator proposes national automotive cybersecurity lab and calls for auto industry to step it up.
U.S. senator proposes national automotive cybersecurity lab and calls for auto industry to step it up.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is pushing to establish a national automotive cybersecurity laboratory and called for the automotive industry to step up their efforts in securing connected vehicles.

“No question, we need a national facility,” Peters told a cybersecurity forum March 30 at the TU Automotive Cybersecurity 2016 conference in Michigan. “These exist in other parts of the world and we have to be competitive,” he added.

The senator, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation which oversees automotive security, said he would like to build the facility at a former auto manufacturing site near Detroit that has reportedly been designated for development as an $80 million automated-vehicle testing facility.

Peters' proposal comes at a time when lawmakers are debating legislation that could outlaw car hacking and potentially criminalize white hat hacker's efforts to search for vulnerabilities in connected automobiles.  

“The technology is moving so fast that the problem will be the regulators not being able to keep up,” Peters said, adding,  that there is a knowledge gap in Washington that causes lawmakers to pounce on automakers for perceived glitches before knowing all of the facts.

The senator said one way to prevent this from happening is for the industry to step up their efforts in securing their products against cyber threats.

Peters pointed to the nation's overall lack of cybersecurity talent and that this gap is even greater in the auto industry due to the specialization of the field.

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