California Driverless Car Law Raises Mobile Privacy Concerns

Sep 27, 2012 10:28:07Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

California Driverless Car Law Raises Mobile Privacy Concerns

Driverless vehicles are coming closer to being a reality on the roads, inspiring the state of California to pass legislation concerning the safety and performance standards for autonomous automobiles. The recently approved bill, however, did not touch on consumer privacy, even though data sharing plays a major role in their functionality. According to The Washington Post, the new law will help Google transition its driverless cars from the testing phase to a viable option for consumers.

"I expect self-driving cars are going to be far safer than human-driven cars," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during the signing of the bill that took place at the company's office in Mountain View, the Post reports.

While autonomous technology has the potential to reduce traffic and improve road safety, consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog recently raised concerns about mobile privacy. The law that will allow Google to bring self-driving cars to the masses does not include measures concerning consumer privacy, despite the fact that these automobiles need to send and receive information to outside sources in order to function properly.

"Substantial safety and liability questions remain," John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project Director, said in a statement released by the organization. "On the privacy issue, the law gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used."

The legislation will not affect mobile security just yet, as it currently only allows driverless vehicle testing to take place on California's roads. The groundwork has been laid for autonomous cars to be integrated onto the state's roadways, including provisions for manufacturers to build and sell self-driving cars, according to the San Francisco Chronicle at SFGate. The Department of Motor Vehicles will also need to develop regulations for driverless vehicles by January 2015, leaving plenty of time to work out strategies to protect consumers' mobile identities.