SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog today warned the California Department of Motor Vehicles that it must not allow Google and others with a vested interest in developing driverless vehicles to push the DMV into issuing rules regulating the public use of robot cars on highways that are inadequate to protect public safety.
Urges Focus On Immediate Concerns Of Privacy And Auto Safety
SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today challenged the idea that widespread use of fully autonomous or driverless cars is imminent, and urged the state Insurance Commissioner to focus on immediate consumer concerns of auto safety and privacy.
SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today warned the California Department of Motor Vehicles not to succumb to pressure from Google and others with a vested interest in developing “driverless cars” to rush to adopt regulations for the pubic use of the vehicles that are inadequate to protect our safety.
Consumer privacy also is at risk through the new legislation, says John Simpson, privacy project supervisor for the nonprofit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. California’s new driverless-auto law “gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used,” Simpson tells WardsAuto. “That’s where we have a problem.”
Santa Monica, California — October 1, 2012 — Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a driverless car law into effect at a ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. According to advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, the law poses threats to safety and privacy.
With all that technology at work, John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project, says manufacturers will have to let the public know in writing how much data about them and their movements is being collected by the driverless vehicle.
Consumer Watchdog, a consumer-rights group, has expressed reservations about the cars on privacy grounds, saying they would allow Google to gather personal information about passengers.
Consumer groups charge Google and other companies are really only interested in using the on-board computers to track people’s movements like on the Web.
Another lingering concern about driverless cars is privacy. The machines will have to collect and store certain information about a person’s movements as part of their basic functioning, as well as to improve their performance over time. Because of pressure from privacy advocates, the law requires manufacturers to provide written disclosures describing the data collected. But John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project, says that doesn’t go far enough.
SANTA MONICA, CA – The driverless car law signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown at a ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View poses threats to Californians’ safety and privacy, Consumer Watchdog said.
Opponents of the bill included the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Consumer Watchdog. Automakers have raised liability concerns, while Consumer Watchdog argued Google’s driverless cars should not be allowed on California roads until privacy protections are in place.
A consumer advocacy organization warns that the cars could do more than that, collecting personal information that could be shared with others, and is asking for a gubernatorial veto of the bill approving them, which was passed by the state legislature in August. “The California autonomous car legislation does not provide adequate privacy protection,” says Consumer Watchdog spokesperson John Simpson. “Data should be gathered and retained only as long as necessary to operate the vehicle. The consumer must opt in if it is used for any other purpose.”
Autonomous cars are a hot topic of conversation nowadays. Fans of the status quo see them as a waste of time. Driving enthusiasts see them as the harbinger of a boring, 55 mph future. And politicians see them as high-tech boogeymen to scare seniors into voting booths. (NB: that tactic didn’t work.) Now, another group voiced its criticism — specifically against Google’s autonomous car: the aptly but obviously named Consumer Watchdog group, based in Santa Monica, California.