FCC aims to protect domestic abuse survivors from connected car stalking

Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel shared a brand new proposal Wednesday that may make it tougher for domestic abuse survivors to be stalked via their vehicles’ location monitoring techniques.

The discover of proposed rulemaking would kick off a course of for the FCC to take into account the way it can use current authority to create new protections for domestic abuse survivors. It seeks extra data on accessible connected car companies and whether or not adjustments to the best way the company implements the Safe Connections Act are crucial to handle how these instruments could possibly be used for abuse. The company is anticipated to take up the difficulty within the subsequent month.

The Safe Connections Act, which was signed into regulation in late 2022, requires cell service suppliers to let survivors of domestic abuse separate their telephone traces from their abuser’s. Rosenworcel told Reuters that the problems with connected vehicles “appeared terribly related” to the company’s work implementing the Safe Connections Act.

“A car is a important lifeline that can provide survivors a manner to escape their abusers, acquire independence, and search help,” Rosenworcel mentioned in a press launch saying the proposal. “Survivors of domestic abuse shouldn’t have to select between giving up their car and feeling protected.”

The transfer underscores the ubiquity of GPS monitoring throughout many various units and the way these options may be exploited for tech-enabled abuse.

Outlets including Reuters and The New York Times have reported on examples of domestic abuse survivors being tracked by abusive companions via their internet-connected vehicles. In one case, a lady tried to sue Tesla for negligence in allegedly enabling her husband to stalk her via the car, regardless of repeated complaints to the corporate, Reuters reported. But Tesla prevailed.

Survivors of domestic abuse shouldn’t have to select between giving up their car and feeling protected.”

Last month, Rosenworcel wrote letters to nine leading automakers within the US, together with Ford, General Motors, and Tesla, asking about how they deal with geolocation knowledge and if they’ve any plans to assist domestic abuse survivors separate their car monitoring from their abusers. Rosenworcel additionally despatched letters to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon on the time asking about how they deal with geolocation knowledge from connected car companies and their compliance with the Safe Connections Act.

Tesla’s response, for instance, doesn’t immediately handle domestic abuse however says car owners can “customise the sharing parameters by proscribing location visibility.” But Toyota wrote it is going to take away “entry to car location data and connectivity features on the request of a domestic violence survivor or different licensed consumer.”

The discover of proposed rulemaking additionally seeks touch upon how connected car service suppliers can proactively strive to protect survivors from misuse of their techniques. If adopted, the proposal could be open to a public remark interval earlier than the FCC shapes and votes on a rule.

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