Detroit/ Politics & Govt
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Published on February 29, 2024
FCC Shifts Gears in Detroit, Cracking Down on Car Snoops to Shield Abuse VictimsSource: Google Street View

Wheels of concern are turning at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the agency sets its sights on preventing domestic abusers from using connected vehicle technology to track victims, an alarming twist in the ceaseless struggle for personal security. In Detroit, the chairwoman of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, has initiated the process to craft new rules that could put the brakes on such invasive misuse, tapping into the agency's prerogative under the "Safe Connections Act," according to The Detroit News.

The Chairwoman has been hitting the throttle, as seen last month when she penned letters to nine major automakers seeking specifics on their connected systems and their measures to shield those harassed by abusers. The initiative draws fuel from a recent New York Times story highlighting the exploitation of such technologies in abusive contexts. This measure, still in its proposal phase, would invite discourse from both the public and industry on the issue of connected car services. Meanwhile, some manufacturers like Toyota and Ford are reportedly willing to disconnect vehicle locators for victims, but others have given less clear directions on the matter.

Under Rosenworcel's plan, the FCC would consider applying the statutes of the Safe Connections Act to vehicular tech with statements such as "a car is a critical lifeline that can give survivors a way to escape their abusers, gain independence, and seek support," the chairwoman is quoted via The Hill, emphasizing the gravity of ensuring the safety of abuse survivors within the context of their own vehicles.

Voicing their support for the FCC's proactive stance, Harold Feld of Public Knowledge saluted the agency's move towards crafting protective measures, articulating that Congress didn't just hand the FCC a mission when they passed the Safe Connections Act, but they also passed along the responsibility to defend lives against the misuse of wireless tech that's embedded in almost every contemporary vehicle, which is increasingly leading to cases where abusers use these networks for intimidation and said Feld. He urges quick action for the sake of lives in the balance, as reported by Public Knowledge.