March 18, 2014 | By Nate Cardozo

EFF Statement on California Senate Bill 994

California State Sen. Monning (D-Carmel) has introduced legislation intended to protect Californians' privacy rights behind the wheel. We have not yet completed our analysis of the bill, sponsored by the Automobile Association of America, but apparently a thorough analysis wasn't required for the automotive industry to come out slinging FUD against it.

In a hyperbolic statement, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group representing 12 of the largest car makers in the world, immediately condemned the bill as an "unacceptable threat to motorist safety, privacy" and a "data grab" by the AAA.

The bill is no such thing.

While we have significant concerns about the bill in its current form, the new law is intended to do three things that should benefit consumers. First, it's intended to provide clarity on what information your car is collecting on you and how that information will be used. Second, the bill would allow you access to your own car's computer systems in a reasonable and non-discriminatory manner. And third, it would guarantee the ability of the third party service provider you choose to use that data for your benefit.

Contrary to the auto-industry group's claim, the bill does not give any insurance company access to the data and does nothing to impair research into vehicle safety. Instead, the bill is intended to put the keys to your car's data in your hands where they belong. Why is the industry so opposed to that?

You bought it, you own it; it's your car and it's your data. You, and you alone should control the systems in your car and the data they record and store.

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