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Auto Care Association Warns of Anti-Competitive Impact of Bill

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The Auto Care Association has sent a letter to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, warning lawmakers that language in a draft vehicle cybersecurity bill could "have severe anti-competitive impacts on our industry and car owners who depend on independent repair shops for about 80% of post-warranty repairs."

The provision in question was included in a “Discussion Draft to Provide Greater Transparency, Accountability and Safety Authority to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” issued by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The provision would make it “unlawful for any person to access, without authorization, an electronic unit (ECU) or critical system of a motor vehicle or other system containing driving data for such motor vehicles, either wirelessly or through a wired connection.”

In the Oct. 19 letter, the association called the provision vague, citing that the ECU is the brain of the vehicle and that shops need access to the ECU in order to provide diagnosis and repair for a vehicle. “The Auto Care Association believes that when a consumer purchases a vehicle, they own not only the sheet metal and mechanical parts, but the software as well. While the design of the software might be the property of the developer, ownership and the access to that software should be controlled by the owner of that vehicle and not by the vehicle manufacturer.”

The association says the legislation would give auto manufacturers “full control over who has access to key vehicle systems, many of which are needed for repair purposes.”

A full copy of the letter and the draft legislation can be found online. The cybersecurity section begins in section 301, on page 18 of the bill.

For more information about the Auto Care Association, visit www.autocare.org.

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