The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Put car owners in control of data

A view of Interstate 95 southbound in Baltimore in March 2017.
A view of Interstate 95 southbound in Baltimore in March 2017. (Jonathan Newton)
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The Jan. 16 front-page article "Cars collect reams of information on owners" was right on target regarding the fact that most consumers are unaware that their vehicle transmits a huge amount of data to vehicle manufacturers.

Car owners, not the vehicle manufacturers, should own the data transmitted by their vehicles. The car owner should have the ability to share or not share that data with whomever they want. For that reason, the Auto Care Association and many other industry and consumer groups are supporting a data-access amendment added by Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) to the Senate's autonomous vehicle legislation (AV Start Act). The amendment would establish a federal advisory committee to discuss and make policy recommendations to Congress on the need for consumers to have the ability to control data produced by their vehicle.

While this is only a first step, we hope the House will agree to include this amendment in a final autonomous vehicle bill so that important policy discussions can begin regarding car owners' control of vehicle data.

Bill Hanvey, Bethesda

The writer is president and chief executive of the Auto Care Association.