Carmakers will not immediately comply with Massachusetts data repair 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.

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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