Senator Ed Markey issues report detailing automobile security and privacy concerns

Last year, 16 car manufacturers responded to questions from Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.), pictured to the right, Thconcerning whether their vehicles are vulnerable to hackers and how the companies collect and protect driver information.

Senator Markey's office has now reviewed the information received from the manufacturers and issued this report.

Here's Senator Markey's synopsis of the report's findings:

Vulnerability to hackers

–Nearly 100 percent of vehicles on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.

–Most automobile manufacturers were unaware of or unable to report on past hacking incidents.

–Security measures to prevent remote access to vehicle electronics are inconsistent and haphazard across the different manufacturers.

–Only two automobile manufacturers were able to describe any capabilities to diagnose or meaningfully respond to an infiltration in real-time, and most said they rely on technologies that cannot be used for this purpose at all.

Data collection by manufacturers and privacy concerns

–Automobile manufacturers collect large amounts of data on driving history and vehicle performance.

–A majority of automakers offer technologies that collect and wirelessly transmit driving history information to data centers, including third-party data centers, and most did not describe effective means to secure the information.

–Manufacturers use personal vehicle data in various ways, often vaguely to “improve the customer experience” and usually involving third parties, and retention policies – how long they store information about drivers – vary considerably among manufacturers.

–Customers are often not explicitly made aware of data collection and, when they are, they often cannot opt out without disabling valuable features, such as navigation.

Read Senator Markey's press release.

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