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Don't Get Hacked! Tips for Owners of Computer-Equipped Cars

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 20-Jan-2015

Many exciting changes involving onboard computer technology are coming to the consumer car industry. Satellite-assisted navigation, traffic alerts, biometric customization, and similar features will soon be standard. Unfortunately, all of this luxury comes with a price.

The U.S. Government and privacy advocates have expressed concerns regarding the increasingly networked nature of automobile-based computing. They worry these highly anticipated features may open users to unanticipated risks regarding the security of private information.

Due to concerns about hackers disrupting communications to and from cars, the Federal Highway Traffic Safety Commission has established an office to develop novel cyber security strategies. They believe the threat of accidents or crimes caused by hacking networked automobiles warrants heightened attention. Automobiles rely on networked systems for proper operation, and they can never be shut off. This means a constant stream of personal data goes to and from cars at all times, whether drivers consent or not.

While automakers insist that no car has yet been hacked, privacy advocates worry about the future. We do not know what these companies (and their affiliates) might be able to do with the collected vehicle data and whether these data will be susceptible to theft. Customers cannot opt out of these services at this time.

Follow these tips to ensure your data is secure:

1)      Automakers have promised to obtain consent from drivers before releasing crash data to any third-party. Be mindful of this caveat, if you're involved in an accident.

2)      Just because no one has yet reported hacking involving vehicle-based network-enabled devices doesn't mean it won't happen in the near term: keep track of developments in the news.

3)      Never provide consent to anyone seeking to obtain personally identifying data — even your car company — unless you know exactly what information they want and how they will use it.

4)      Read end-user-license agreements carefully for information regarding the vehicle owner's responsibilities for vehicle-collected data.

While the possibilities of vehicle-installed computers are enticing, we must take care to ensure good data security.

Our Washington D.C. auto accident attorneys would be happy to provide a free and thorough consultation about your recent accident and possible case. Call or email us today to explore your strategic options.

Categories: Consumer Safety
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