AFSA Staff Attends FTC and NHTSA Workshop on “Connected Cars”

On June 28, AFSA staff attended a workshop held by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The purpose of the workshop was to examine the consumer privacy and security issues posed by automated and connected motor vehicles.

Modern motor vehicles increasingly are being equipped with technologies that enable them to access information via the internet and gather, store and transmit data for entertainment, performance and safety purposes. Automated vehicles, vehicles with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications technology, and other connected vehicles (i.e. with some form of wireless connectivity) can provide important benefits to consumers and have the potential to revolutionize motor vehicle safety.

At the same time, these automated and connected vehicles are expected to generate an enormous amount of data, some of which will be personal and sensitive, such as real time precise geolocation data and the contents of driver communications that result when drivers connect their mobile phones to a vehicle’s computer system.

The workshop featured opening remarks by Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen and panel discussions by a variety of stakeholders including government regulators, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and academics. Discussion topics included cybersecurity, data collection, and privacy.

While the theme of the workshop was broad, there were a few specific points that touched on consumer lending. Several panelists discussed the likely increase in fleet vehicles in the future. Also discussed were privacy notices, though the focus was on privacy notices provided by manufacturers, not financial institutions. One panelist mentioned payment assurance devices and potential consumer harm related to those devices, but no one followed up on the comment.