Markey questions car makers on privacy issues

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said he was concerned that new technologies in cars could violate privacy protections or be hacked.

“As vehicles become more integrated with wireless technology, there are more avenues through which a hacker could introduce malicious code, and more avenues through which a driver’s basic right to privacy could be compromised,” Markey wrote in a letter to 20 car manufacturers Monday.

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Markey cited a recent study that revealed commands could be sent through a car’s computer system causing it to accelerate, turn or kill the breaks. He also said new navigation and tracking systems could allow the collection of driver data without consumers’ knowledge or consent.

Markey, who serves a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said these threats show a need for Congress to examine car security policies.  

“Airbags and seat belts protect the safety of drivers, but we also need car companies to ensure the security and privacy of those in automobiles in this new wireless age,” Markey said.

Markey asked the major automakers to respond to several questions, including if the companies are aware of any efforts to infiltrate a wireless car system.