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.
“It is clear that we do need better protection of vulnerable networks,” John Simpson, consumer advocate at Consumer Watchdog, told TechNewsWorld. “Congress was unable to act, so I suppose the Administration is taking steps.” He cautioned, however, that he had not seen a copy of the draft order.
“It hasn’t been clear yet exactly what it means,” says Consumer Watchdog consumer advocate John Simpson. “The advertising industry, I think, would have it mean that they’re not going to target you with behavioral-based advertising. Many of us who are concerned about privacy understand that if you send a Do Not Track message, then your data should not be collected [at all].”
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.
Public Interest Group Terms Privacy Protections For New Technology Insufficient
SANTA MONICA, CA – California Gov. Jerry Brown should veto a bill that allows Google’s driverless cars on the highway because it does not provide adequate privacy protections for users of the new technology, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Yet groups such as Consumer Watchdog have called on government regulators to block the sale. The Fairsearch.org consortium of competitors to Google—which includes Microsoft—issued a statement that “encourages government officials to look closely” at how Google uses the acquisition.
SANTA MONICA, CA — Google’s driverless cars should not be allowed on U.S. highways unless adequate privacy protections for users of the new technology are implemented and an amended bill in the California Legislature fails to deliver the necessary safeguards, Consumer Watchdog said today.