This week, a bill that would halt data collected from in-vehicle cameras from being sold to third parties or used in advertisements will move to an Assembly committee hearing following passage in the Senate last week.
Senate Bill 346, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) would, in addition to being prohibited to selling in-vehicle camera video to advertisers and third parties, need to to inform buyers or representatives of the buyers at the time of purchase that a camera is installed inside the vehicle. In addition, any recording by the camera would not be able to go back to the manufacturer without consent of the vehicle owner. Manufacturers, in turn, would be protected from having to build in certain camera features that would allow the police or other law enforcement agency from being able to monitor camera images.
In a statement made last week, Wieckowski specifically noted concern over built-in cameras in BMWs, Hyundais, and Cadillacs.
Senator Wieckowski wrote the bill due to concerns over in-vehicle camera privacy. Specifically, he was concerned what non-user usage of the camera could do, such as gathering information about driving habits and selling such information or footage to help create targeted advertising, similar to the data collection practices by large internet companies to create targeted advertising online.
“We spend a great deal of time inside our car,” said Senator Wieckowski in a statement last week. “What we do while driving to work, going to the store or picking up our children, reveals a great deal about who we are and our daily habits. This is extremely valuable information that some estimate will be worth over $750 billion by 2030. SB 346 will address the potential erosion of privacy at its root before it can grow out of control. I’m pleased to see the strong show of bipartisanship on this important privacy issue.”
SB 346 has received bipartisan support, with only a few Republican Senators voting no on the bill last week during the Senate vote where it ultimately passed 36-3.
“Privacy is a big concern for many, but so is the revenue potential from these cameras,” explained Michigan-based car manufacturer researcher Peter Lemon. “Cameras are becoming more and more common in newer cars for backup cameras to park, and dashboard cameras to help protect against insurance claims. People don’t want to be targeted for advertising when they drive, but camera technology is improving to the point where data can be sold.”
“The bill out in California wants to stop that before it gets any bigger. It would be a win for consumers, but a loss of a lot of potential revenue for car makers and companies that rely on that advertising through data harvesting.”
SB 346 is now in the Assembly, where it is expected to be assigned to a committee this week.