Two senators are proposing a bill that would introduce a ratings system to measure whether or not vehicle software is safe from hackers.
At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the legislation would involve the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission outlining rules for data privacy and security in connected cars, Automotive News reported.
Markey, who earlier this week released a report finding that many cars can be hacked, believes that minimum requirements for data safety are the modern-day equivalent to seat belt and air bag regulations.
"There are currently no rules of the road for how to protect driver and passenger data, and most customers don't even know that their information is being collected and sent to third parties," said Markey, as quoted by Automotive News. "These new requirements will include a set of minimum standards to protect driver security and privacy in every new vehicle."
In an effort to ensure that motorists are "explicitly aware of data collection, transmission and use," the proposed bill would require carmakers to let drivers choose not to have their personal data collected without affecting the vehicle's navigation system.
The legislation is intended to put limits on personal data collection for advertising and marketing purposes.
Besides shielding consumer data, the bill would mandate security for all wireless access points in the vehicle to protect against hackers.
Modern vehicles often contain around 50 electronic control units that are part of a network. Most new cars on the market include at least some form of wireless entry points to these computers, such as Bluetooth, tire pressure monitoring systems and keyless entry.
The bill additionally mandates that location and other data collected while driving be protected by encryption and that carmakers be at the ready to respond in real time if a hacker breaks into a vehicle remotely. Under the legislation, automakers would be required to detect and report a hack immediately.