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US Senators To Push For Security Legislation For IOT Devices And Cars

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Friday, May 8th, 2015


Senators have called for new legislations to deal with security and privacy issues related to Internet Of Things (IOT) enabled devices and cars. As the technology gains widespread acceptance, there is a fear among the authorities that criminals and hackers could take advantage of security loopholes present within IOT to target innocent people. A recent survey disclosed that a majority of Americans are concerned about their privacy with IOT and even FTC has issued several warnings related to the use of the technology.

Since the IOT technology is so new, there is a lack of standards and regulations regulating its usage. With this backdrop, some Democratic senators have called for bringing out new laws that would regulate data security and privacy in the age of IOT. Members from Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee also said that they were exploring options on how to enforce security and privacy standards for interconnected devices.

Massachusetts based Democratic Senator Edward Markey is set to propose a new bill that will focus on defining security standards and govern the data collection by IOT enabled cars. He also published a report outlining how car makers have “massive holes” within their security systems. Out of the 16 auto companies contacted by Markey’s office, only a couple said that they can deal with hacking attacks in real time. Markey also said in a hearing that since modern cars can be termed as “computers on wheels”, a small security flaw or hacking attack could have a major impact on the security of driver, passengers and others who are in the vicinity of the vehicle.

The bill proposed by Markey would force the manufacturers of wireless access points for vehicles to adopt encryption while collecting data from the cars. The law would also require that car makers or third party security vendors be able to detect and deal with hacking attacks in real time. Furthermore, the bill would make it mandatory for the car makers of connected cars to disclose their data collection practices and even allow customers to opt out of all data collection programs without impacting navigation in any way. While representatives of car makers were not present during the hearing, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers group said that in the recent past, automakers have taken steps to ensure the security and privacy of customers and its group members are committed to providing strong data privacy and vehicle security to their customers.

During the hearing, some senators suggested that given the explosive growth that the IOT industry is witnessing, legislations were needed to maintain the balance between the data collection and consumer privacy. Additionally, senators were of the opinion that data collection by IOT enabled devices should be more transparent and it should also be easier for customers to file class action lawsuits in case of data breaches. On the other hand, representatives from IOT industry urged the government to go slow on new legislations so as not to jeopardize the growth of the industry.


May 8, 2015
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