As Cybersecurity Risks Loom, Carmakers Look To Regulators

Fenwick intellectual property partner John McNelis spoke with Law360 about how carmakers are responding to new liabilities due to the possibility of system hacks in internet-connected vehicles. These companies are increasing self-policing efforts to guard consumer data, taking inspiration from how government agencies have approached regulating similar technologies.

McNelis noted that both carmakers and regulators are growing more interested in consumer risk in the absence of concrete government standards, and that future regulation could manifest in one of two ways: self-regulation by the industry or through the government.

For self-regulation to be effective, auto industry members might have to face penalties for not implementing or adhering to the framework, McNelis told Law360.

"The problem is that they didn't really put any bite into it, and that's likely not going to fly. If the industry just puts window dressing on and sugarcoats the issues without putting any enforcement behind it, or if they feel like they don't have the capability to put any enforcement mechanisms behind it, it's likely that the federal government is going to dive in and start regulating much more than the auto industry may want,” McNelis said.

The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).​​