For much of the summer the news was filled with stories about cars being vulnerable to being hacked.  Fiat Chrysler recently issued two major recalls to correct these problems.   As I told you in my Scam of the day for August 2nd ,United States Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal filed legislation known as the SPY Car Act designed to provide requirements for automobile manufacturer’s to meet the threat of automobile hacking.  SPY is an acronym for Security and Privacy in Your car.  Last February Senator Markey  issued a report that determined that the efforts of automakers around the world to prevent hackers from gaining control of cars electronically were “inconsistent and haphazard.”  Further, Markey concluded that most automakers did not even have systems for either detecting security breaches or responding to those breaches.  This new legislation is an attempt to respond to the lack of efforts by the automobile industry to effectively deal with this problem.

The bill if enacted into law would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop industry wide standards to prevent vehicle control systems from being hacked into.  In addition, the bill would require privacy standards to be developed to protect the privacy of the data collected by our vehicles.  Finally, the bill if enacted into law would require cars to have a new cyber dashboard display that would be affixed to the windows of all new cars that indicated how well the particular type and brand of car protected security and privacy beyond the minimum standards set by law.

Now Senators Markey and Blumenthal have sent a letter to the automobile manufacturers seeking updates on what they are doing to make their cars safer from hacking.


Automobile hacking is just another part of the broad Internet of Things where we are all increasingly vulnerable to hacking that threatens our well being.  Companies have got to do a better job of incorporating security into all of the devices and products that we use that are connected to the Internet. It is only a matter of time before hacking into the products involved with the Internet of Things results in devastating consequences.  Here is a copy of my USA Today column I wrote in April about the Internet of Things and the dangers posed.

To the credit of the automobile industry it appears that they are finally taking this cyberthreat seriously and have started to share information and develop new standards for security and privacy.  Both senators, however, believe that the matter of cybersecurity of cars should not be a matter of voluntary steps by the automobile manufacturers, but rather mandated safety, security and privacy standards.

Here is a link to the legislation proposed by Senators Markey and Blumenthal.  If you support this legislation, I urge you to contact your Senators to request that they vote favorably on this bill.