SANTA MONICA, CA—The California Department of Motor Vehicles must enact regulations that protect safety and privacy in new regulations it is drafting that would cover Google’s driverless cars and other “autonomous vehicles” traveling on California’s highways.
SB 1298, signed into law last September, directs the Department of Motor Vehicles to write regulations covering robot cars by January 2015. The first in a series of public workshops on the regulations is being held in Sacramento today.
“Substantial safety and liability questions remain,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “On the privacy issue, the law gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used.”
Consumer Watchdog criticized the way the Legislature and Governor rushed to endorse the driverless technology without adequately considering its ramifications.
“The DMV needs study this carefully and get the rules right,” said Simpson. “The department must not fall victim to Google’s ability to dazzle and get its way, as happened with the Governor and Legislature.”
The time to ensure that the new driverless car technology has the necessary safety and privacy protections is while it is being designed and developed, Consumer Watchdog said. Trying to catch up after a new technology is developed and broadly implemented simply will not work.
“Google has repeatedly demonstrated that it only pays lip service to privacy concerns and repeatedly violated consumers’ privacy,” said Simpson. “Consumers must have the right to give opt-in consent before any data gathered through driverless car technology is used for any purpose other than driving the vehicle.”
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