BETHESDA, Md. –
January 14, 2020 – On Jan. 13, the Massachusetts Legislature held the first
hearing on legislation that would ensure consumers would have access to the
repair data generated by their vehicle. Held in the biggest hearing room in the
Massachusetts Statehouse, the room was packed with repair shop owners and technicians,
as well as representatives from the major parts retailers and tool suppliers—providing
a major show of support for the new legislation the auto care industry in the
The three-and-a-half hour-long hearing featured testimony from
multiple shop owners who discussed the need for the current Right to Repair law
to be amended to ensure that car owners have access to wireless repair and
diagnostic data generated by most late model vehicles. Opponents of the
legislation, mainly trade groups representing car and truck manufacturers, countered
that the law was not necessary and it would expose an extensive amount of a
driver’s personal information. Manufacturers further alleged that making data
available would make critical vehicle safety systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
However, legal experts explained to legislators that the
bill was specifically worded to only require access to repair and diagnostic
data, ensuring that personal information would be protected. Further, cyber
experts and law enforcement representatives including former Boston police
commissioner, Ed Davis told committee members that car owners should have the
ability to control data generated by their vehicles and that such action could
be taken cyber securely. Technology experts additionally pointed out that there
were international standards that could be utilized in order to protect vehicle
data and that manufacturers already had the ability to separate out personal
data from mechanical data in order to ensure protection for car owner privacy.
The hearing clearly was a great day for car owners and the
independent auto care industry both in the demonstration of support for the
bill, but also in combatting vehicle manufacturers attempts to scare the
legislature regarding cybersecurity and privacy. The Auto Care Association
would like to thank all of its members who took time out of their busy schedule
to come to Boston for this important event.
The Legislature now has until May 15 to determine whether to
pass the bill and therefore negate the need for a ballot measure that has been
filed by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee that would mandate access
to vehicle diagnostic and repair data.
A full recording of the hearing can be viewed here.
For additional information on the bill go to www.massrighttorepair.org or
contact Aaron Lowe at email@example.com.