Privacy group wants Google's driverless cars kept off the road
Consumer Watchdog seeks ban on any data collection from autonomous cars
Computerworld - A privacy group is calling on the California Assembly to keep Google's self-driving cars off the road.
Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit privacy group, sent an open letter to the Assembly today urging members to defeat a bill, SB 1289, that would allow Google's self-driving cars on California's roads unless the bill is amended to provide "adequate" privacy protection for the cars' users.
The letter (download PDF) asks legislators to ban all data collection from Google's autonomous cars.
"While we don't propose to limit the ability of the cars to function by communicating as necessary with satellites and other devices, the collection and retention of data for marketing and other purposes should be banned," wrote Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, and John Simpson, privacy project director. "Unless the bill is amended, once again society will be forced to play catch-up in dealing with the impact of the privacy invading aspects of a new technology."
Google has been pushing ahead with its research into developing autonomous automobiles that can be sold commercially.
Earlier this month, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles gave Google the state's first license for driverless cars. It was also the first autonomous vehicle license ever issued in the United States, according to the Nevada DMV website.
"The cars have a number of sensors, such as cameras, lasers and radar, to monitor road conditions and improve the technology," said Google spokesman Chris Gaither in an email to Computerworld. "For our testing purposes, the cars log data about their performance -- how fast they're going, where they are, where they detect obstacles, etc. -- as well as data from the equipment on the car."
Gaither noted that he could not say what, if any, data would continue to be collected from the cars once testing is over and they are being sold commercially. "It would be premature to speculate," he added.
The letter was sent to Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, who has not replied to a request for comment.
According to Gaither, Google's driverless cars have logged more than 200,000 miles so far.
Last month, Google executives went to Detroit looking for partners in the company's efforts to develop the vehicles. Anthony Levandowski, head of Google's self-driving car project, told an audience there that the company would like to get such cars on the road within the next decade.
A Google spokesman told Computerworld last month that the company has been reaching out to automakers but is keeping its options open.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.
- NSA defends collecting data from U.S. residents not suspected of terrorist activities
- Groups fear bill would allow free flow of data between private sector and NSA
- Google's move into home automation means even less privacy
- Bill to require warrant for email searches gains ground in House
- Coming soon to a fridge near you -- targeted ads
- Snowden leaks prompt tech firms to tout privacy, transparency policies
- License reader lawsuit can be heard, appeals court rules
- Is EU's 'right to be forgotten' really the 'right to edit the truth'?
- Tails 1.0: A bootable Linux distro that protects your privacy
- Privacy jitters derail controversial K-12 big data initiative
Read more about Privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Advanced Threat Defense: A Comprehensive Approach In this interview, Peter George, president, General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, explains why we need more than anti-malware, and what constitutes a comprehensive...
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Data Protection and Disaster Recovery with iSCSI and VMware Get this on demand webcast now
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel... All Privacy White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!