Republicans controlling Congress and the White House have called for a broad reduction in federal regulations, however, two Democratic senators from New England, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have introduced bills bolstering cyber security of motor vehicles and aircraft.
“Whether in their cars on the road or in aircraft in the sky, Americans should be protected from cyber attack and violations of their privacy,” said Markey in a joint press release announcing the legislation this week.
“If hackers access the critical systems of a car or plane, disaster could ensue and our public safety could be compromised.”
The two bills, one for each form of transportation, were also first introduced last session of Congress.
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However, concern over cyber security on vehicles has continued to grow with automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Honda among other committing to dealing with the potential of the threat of hackers, who might use a vehicles internet portal to steal private information or even move the vehicle.
Automakers also have begun to put more money into cyber security, acquiring a number of small companies with expertise or technology aimed at the problem.
Officials from the Department of Justice said during a conference in Detroit in 2016 that they are increasingly concerned that the terrorists could breach a vehicle’s cyber security in order to use it as a weapon. Vehicles have been used as weapons in attacks in Southern France, Berlin and only this week during an assault on the British Parliament in London.
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The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, which has also been dubbed the Spy Car Act, would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Trade Commission to develop automotive cybersecurity and privacy standards.
It also calls for a “cyber dashboard” rating system that would inform consumers how cars went above and beyond those standards, according to “The Hill,” a Washington D.C. website that tracks Congress.
The companion Cybersecurity Standards for Aircraft to Improve Resilience Act would introduce a bevy of new baseline standards for air carriers. Companies would have to take “reasonable measures” to prevent cyber attacks, including testing and maintenance, and secure wifi access on airplanes. Carriers and manufacturers would also need to disclose attacks on airplane systems.
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“As technology rapidly advances, we must ensure the auto and airline industries protect their systems from cybersecurity attacks,” said Blumenthal.