Comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Sandards, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications, Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Re: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM)

Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0022

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse comments submitted electronically via http://www.regulations.gov

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) respectfully submits the following comments in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to create a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) requiring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication capability for light vehicles. 

The PRC is a nonprofit consumer privacy education and advocacy organization.[1]  We serve consumers nationwide and have invited individuals to contact us with their privacy complaints and questions since 1992.  Our mission is to engage, educate, and empower individuals to protect their privacy.  In turn, we identify trends and communicate our findings to advocates, policymakers, industry, media and other consumers.

While V2V Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology may have the potential to greatly improve traffic safety, PRC is concerned with the lack of detail and meaningful discussion of privacy and security issues in the ANPRM and accompanying report, “Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for Application” (Report).  NHTSA must sufficiently and transparently address the very real privacy and security risks of the implementation of a technology that will eventually be installed in all light vehicles on the road. 

It is crucial that the public understand and have the ability to provide informed input early in the rulemaking process since a FMVSS would require all passenger vehicles to integrate V2V communications technology.  Once a safety standard is in place, consumers will have no real control or choice regarding how the technology works or whether they use it.   

The fact that the ANPRM provides little information and discourages public comment on privacy considerations at this point is disturbing.  NHTSA appears to be designating very little priority to privacy at this stage in the rulemaking process and pushing it to a later date.  The ANPRM and Report only mention NHTSA’s current intent for the system and do not address a full range of possible scenarios with the potential to affect consumer privacy and security.   As such, the privacy issues presented by a mandatory V2V communications FMVSS would be better addressed through federal legislation where it will receive more public input than it will through the administrative rulemaking process.

Should it move forward, PRC urges NHTSA to:

  • publicly address potential secondary uses of data that the systems generate;
  • publicly address the potential to use the technology for purposes beyond machine-to-machine communications;
  • take and publicly document proactive measures to protect privacy and security;
  • provide public access to any relevant risk assessments and research. 

For a more detailed discussion of the privacy concerns posed by the intended V2V FMVSS requirement, we direct NHTSA to the comments submitted in response to the ANPRM by Professor Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Beth Givens
Executive Director
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

 


[1] See Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, About the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, https://www.privacyrights.org/content/about-privacy-rights-clearinghouse.