Aug 012020
 August 1, 2020  Posted by  Business, Laws

Kathryn Rattigan of Robinson & Cole writes:

Ballot Question 1 in Massachusetts, if passed in November, would require car manufacturers that sell cars equipped with telematics systems (i.e., a method of monitoring a vehicle by combining a GPS system with on-board diagnostics to record – and map – exactly where a car is and how fast it’s traveling, etc.) to install a standardized, open data platform beginning with model year 2022. Such a system would allow the cars’ owners to access their telematics system data through a mobile app and give their consent for independent repair facilities to access those data and send commands to the system for repair, maintenance, and diagnostic testing.

An open data platform is primarily designed to help big-data developers in creating big-data applications on a common platform. It provides a baseline model to build applications and services that can be interoperable on different platforms. While this platform would allow for use by many different users, this proposed open data platform may also presents security risks to those providing the information. From loss of confidentiality, to the higher potential for compromising personal information, releasing data inherently puts the data at risk.

So on the one hand, consumers would get access to their own car’s data and system so that they do not have to rely on the manufacturer for diagnosis and repairs. On the other hand, detractors claim that opening up access to the data puts consumers at more risks of being hacked and having their personal information compromised.

I don’t know about Massachusetts voters, but I doubt most voters in my area would wade through a real discussion of the pros and cons behind this ballot issue and might just flip a switch or pull a lever or make a check mark randomly on voting day. And yet this is a ballot that might actually impact consumers’ privacy and data security if the detractors are right. But are they?

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