July 15, 2024
Guest commentary: Connected cars raise security concerns, but repair isn’t one of them

As a national advocate for right-to-repair reforms — for all types of equipment from toasters to tractors — I am used to hearing manufacturers’ claims that they alone can protect your data, and pro-repair reforms will undermine your security and privacy.

At the core of the issue is what we advocates call “the myth of the benevolent monopoly.” That myth is, essentially: The manufacturer and their dealerships are the only ones capable of doing things the right way and are the only trustworthy partners. If a third party tries to use the same methods as the “authorized” elite to fix the product, everything will go horribly wrong. The implication is that independent repair shops are sketchy.

The monopoly, therefore, is to protect us. What an act of care and benevolence from the manufacturer!

Readers of Automotive News have seen this argument. For example, John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, wrote that backers of the REPAIR Act seek “unfettered access to a treasure trove of private telematics data for their own sales and marketing purposes.”

The REPAIR Act would allow a car owner to access and direct car maintenance data to a third party.

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