US Probes Security Risks Posed by Internet-Connected Vehicles

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The United States announced Thursday it is launching an investigation into potential security threats posed by connected vehicles that utilize technology from countries of concern such as China.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he is directing the Commerce Department to lead the probe and determine what actions may be necessary to ensure that cars driving on U.S. roads do not undermine the country’s national security.

“Most cars these days are ‘connected’ – they are like smart phones on wheels,” Biden said in a statement. “These cars are connected to our phones, to navigation systems, to critical infrastructure, and to the companies that made them. Connected vehicles from China could collect sensitive data about our citizens and our infrastructure and send this data back to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

Senior administration officials told reporters in a phone call previewing the action that they do not have a precise count of how many vehicles linked to countries of concern are in the United States now, but that the number is “very, very small.”

“It’s often vertically integrated, so you’re often seeing it’s in vehicles that are manufactured in the PRC by PRC companies. There’s very, very few of those vehicles on U.S. roads today,” an official said.

The actions at this point will not involve instituting any bans or tariffs, but rather be focused on gathering information about what might be regulated, the officials said.

“The point we’re really emphasizing is that it’s important to take action before there are a large number of these vehicles on U.S. roads today,” an official said. “With the Chinese export market in autos growing rapidly and making strong inroads in other countries, including in countries in Europe, it’s important to assess the national security risks now.”

The technologies most in focus will be hardware and software in the vehicles that can collect and transmit data, as well as provide remote access capabilities that could be used for nefarious purposes.

One official said potential concerns could range from privacy issues such as the contents of text messages or emails that are linked to a car’s system through a driver’s phone, to a scenario in which an entity in Beijing could disable hundreds of thousands of Chinese-connected cars on U.S. roads.

additional source : VOA

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