Carmakers will not immediately comply with Massachusetts data repair law

Carmakers will not immediately comply with Massachusetts data repair law

An auto industry group said on Friday carmakers do not plan to immediately comply with a Massachusetts law requiring them to share vehicle data with independent repair shops citing concerns about potential hacking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) previously reversed course and said automakers could safely share diagnostic data with independent shops, after earlier objecting that it could make vehicles vulnerable to hacking.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation said Friday that because a compliance option is not immediately available that they would abide by NHTSA’s earlier guidance in June.

The group said it would work with NHTSA and the Massachusetts Attorney General “to discuss in more detail a potential future compliance methodology that would not be preempted by federal law.”

NHTSA said recently automakers could safely share diagnostic data with independent shops using short-range wireless technology, but warned that using long-range wireless signals could potentially let hackers send dangerous commands to moving vehicles. The agency said automakers should be allowed “a reasonable period of time” to put the technology in place.

Massachusetts voters in 2020 approved a ballot initiative that gives independent repair shops access to diagnostic data that newer cars can send directly to dealers and manufacturers, in order to allow consumers to seek repairs outside dealerships.

NHTSA told 22 major automakers in June not to comply with the open-access law because it could potentially allow for manipulation of steering, braking and other critical safety functions and allow hackers to “remotely command vehicles to operate dangerously.”

The Massachusetts attorney general’s office said earlier appreciated “NHTSA’s clarification today that our state law is not preempted by federal law.” Automakers must comply with the state law, the office said.

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Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan praised NHTSA’s statement “clarifying that automakers can safely comply with Massachusetts’ right to repair law and share vehicle data with independent repair shops.”

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