November 18, 2015
Press Release


Opening Statement

Congressman Ted W. Lieu
Hearing on “Internet of Cars”

Joint Hearing of Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology
and Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets


Thank you Chairman Mica, Chairman Hurd, Ranking Member Duckworth and Ranking Member Kelly.

The Internet of Things brings technology and connectivity into every corner of our lives, including our cars.  With the pervasiveness of technology, cybersecurity standards and privacy protections become more important than ever.

Unlike other sectors, security and privacy by design are not yet fully ingrained in automotive manufacturing culture,  as evidenced by the news regarding car cybersecurity issues with wireless entry keys and car hacks. 

However, regulation can be slow, rigid and discourage innovation if done wrong. Rushing to regulation is not the answer, but neither is lack of accountability or standards.  The advances that the auto industry has made in the last year, setting up an Information Sharing and Analysis Center and a set of enforceable privacy principles have been in part because of public and government pressure.

The Safety and Privacy in Your Car Study Act, or the SPY Car Study Act, a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Congressman Joe Wilson and myself is a first step in bringing industry, advocates and government together to strike a balance between innovation and consumer protection. It brings together NHTSA, NIST, the FTC, private industry, engineers, advocates and educators to make sure we take the careful approach to regulation and standards without stifling innovation.  

Having served on active duty in the military, and still in the reserves, I am trained to think about worst case scenarios.  There are three questions that should be addressed.

1.  Can a hacker, now or in the future, remotely take control of a car and use it as a weapon or to cause an accident?

2.  Can a hacker, now or in the future, remotely take control of a fleet of cars and use them as weapons or to cause accidents?

3.  Can a hacker, now or in the future, remotely take partial control of a car to use as a weapon or to cause an accident?  For example, if you were driving down the highway at 60 mph, could a hacker suddenly activate the breaks to cause an accident?

Americans have a right to drive cars that are safe and to keep information about their daily lives private.  I look forward to hearing the testimony from today’s panel of witnesses and look forward to asking them questions on this issue of vital public importance.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.