Senate Dems Call on FCC to Bolster Vehicle Cybersecurity

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) late Thursday urged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to ensure “robust cybersecurity and privacy provisions” for the airwaves that will make up vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity.

“We have entered the Internet of Things era, where our cars, transportation infrastructure, and devices can all be interconnected,” Markey and Blumenthal wrote in a letter to Wheeler. “But make no mistake, IoT can also be considered the Internet of Threats if appropriate safety, cybersecurity, and privacy safeguards are not put in place.”

The two added that it’s essential that the vehicles have “robust safety, cybersecurity, and privacy protections in place before automakers deploy vehicle-2-vehicle and vehicle-2-infrastructure communication technologies.”

Markey and Blumenthal, both members of the Senate Commerce Committee, have raised concerns about security and privacy of interconnected cars for more than a year. In July 2015, Markey introduced S.1806, a bill that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create cybersecurity regulations to ensure that vehicles made for sale in the U.S. will protect electronic control mechanisms and driving data.

The two Democrats now are asking Wheeler to take steps to require all automakers licensed to use airwaves for vehicle-to-vehicle technology to submit their privacy and cybersecurity plans to the FCC.

The lawmakers asked for a response from Wheeler by Aug. 25.

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