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Trump not only one trying to overturn election results in court: Auto makers sue to block new Massachusetts law on access to vehicle data

An association of auto manufacturers today filed suit against Massachusetts to block the access to computerized vehicle information that voters just this month decided the companies have to provide.

In their suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, the Alliance For Automotive Innovation repeats the warnings of their failed ad campaign that the measure would let stalkers and other dangerous people gain access to the data collected by onboard computers on more modern vehicles - not to mention the way auto-parts chains, which backed the other side, would use the information to upsell customers on parts.

But the alliance adds the new law is unconstitutional, because it violates the Supremacy Clause that gives federal law and regulations primacy over any state laws, in this case, "regarding a host of consumer safety and intellectual property protections." And by mandating car makers let repair shops access the stored data on penalty of fines, the new law " takes auto manufacturers’ private property without providing just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment as incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

The alliance says auto makers have gone to considerable expense and trouble to develop vehicle data systems that run today's vehicles while remaining secure from hackers and even whole nation-states out to harm the US.

The Data Law would upend the careful balance struck among three goals: maintaining tight access controls to sensitive vehicle data; protecting manufacturers’ intellectual property rights; and allowing consumers and the repair shops of their choice access to any data necessary for vehicle diagnosis, repair, or maintenance. In place of that balance, the Data Law charts a course into the unknown—requiring auto manufacturers such as Auto Innovators’ members to abandon their existing, secure vehicle systems and develop entirely new, “open access” systems that allow third parties to pull, push, and rewrite vehicle data (and in some cases, push software updates) at will, which could affect the actual functionality and safety of the vehicle

The complaint adds that Massachusetts repair shops can already access the diagnostic data they need to repair computerized vehicles but that the new law would then let criminals access systems that no legitimate shop would ever need to get data or beam commands to:

This includes Controller Area Network (CAN) bus messages that communicate among a vehicle’s electronic control units to allow the vehicle to perform core vehicle functions like acceleration, steering, and braking. ...

Because of the importance of secure vehicle systems to vehicle safety, Auto Innovators’ members do not allow anyone - customer, dealer, or third party - unrestricted access to those systems beyond what is necessary for diagnosis, maintenance, and repair without a valid license or the member’s express permission. Unauthorized access and modification of vehicle data at will could create significant safety concerns, resulting in untold amounts of liability risk for auto manufacturers.

The suit, filed specifically against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who would oversee enforcement of the law, seeks a ruling that the new law cannot be enforced because it would violate the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the federal Clean Air Act, federal copyright, trade-secrets and data-security laws and is an unconstitutional "taking" of auto-company property - in this case the intellectual property embodied in the auto systems.

More immediately, the companies are asking for a preliminary injunction - followed by a permanent one - to block the new law. They also want to be reimbursed for their costs and lawyers' fees.

PDF icon Complete complaint284.11 KB



if someone beat some auto maker ass in a dark parking garage.


But we need the Boch Center.

With his kids and he plays in a band that he purchased.


(oh, man. the stories to be told about that guy would make your head spin. But since he's a "family man" now I don't wanna start dragging any ones name through the mud.)


Saw him years ago being interviewed by Emily Rooney. She asked him about the 1st right to repair law.

He responded that it was a proprietary issue. Coca-cola doesn't have to divulge their ingredients so why should car manufacturers have to divulge their computer/software systems? Emily was kinda worse by responding "I never thought of that."

Who the hell has ever tried to get their soda repaired?


Has Rooney or Boch ever looked at a can of soda? Like all foods, it has an ingredient list.


You can send me any stories about Ernie you'd like I'll post them all day long. I've known that idiot since 1990 when I was working for Aerosmith and he had his head hard wired up their asses.

How the (expletive) have you been on this site for 11 years without telling us an Aerosmith story?


Ernie is really a space frat boy


Is that a reference to a movie, or something? What the heck is wrong with you? Like, I voted yes for right to repair, but actually, who cares? Maybe they have a point. Both sides have enough money for lawyers, do it will now be litigated. No, ballot questions are not indisputable.

to the asinine commercials basically saying a vote "yes" is gonna get you raped in an empty garage.

Ya, know. Local politics stuff.


better than when the legislature decided that we were wrong to vote for income tax reduction or wait over a year to be able to legally buy weed


Is that a reference to a movie, or something?

This isn't the kind of thing you put forward when you have a reasonably strong case.


They just buy a GPS tracker and surreptitiously put it on your car.

Unfortunately all the big powerhouse lawyers are already hired by the auto giants so you can't win.

The automakers started out with an ad that showed a woman trying to get into her car in a deserted garage, only she couldn't, because her stalker had disabled the door locks and, as the camera moved towards her, we just knew what he was going to do next. And cut!

The auto-parts people responded by hiring former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to call the automakers a lying bunch of liars while holding a copy of the proposed law or, at the least, some papers with words on them.

The automakers in turn responded by hiring getting a former corrections commissioner (I think she was) to call him a lying liar, although not by name.

Click the start button below to see the ad:


that talked about hackers in China and ended with a person pushing a button on a laptop, thus causing a car to swerve out of its lane and crash into a tractor trailer..


Then maybe cars shouldn’t be designed so that hacked software can take over the locks and steering. This law isn’t the problem.

If only there could be an organized money powerhouse of Riders of the MBTA to move and shake change.


seeeeeeriously. Am I the only one who thinks that there is a huge market inefficiency in mass transit? funny how no one business has made it a point to come and provide services around every train. and I think someone should. It's always better to wait somewhere and to arrive to something than to be lonely and exposed and have nothing.

So isn't it about time that some disruptive genius with angel wings starts to pour funds into making rail and bus services that are competitive?

Oops, this comment has nothing to do with OP, which frankly I don't really give a shit which way they decide because I'm not fixing any cars without any help or buying any new ones anyway?

siittin outside of town, everybody's always down (tell me why) because they can't get up


Any Fugazi reference gets a thumbs up.

Guillotine lookin good right now


If you were unsure of the intent behind the 'no on 2' scare tactics this should clear up any doubts. If it was just about protecting consumers they wouldn't be challenging this in court.


Lots and lots of money. The more the automakers struggle to stop this initiative, the more convinced I become that the other side has it right. Also, the Supremacy Clause? Really? So very weak.


But, then, that murderer this week who claimed his brain wasn't fully developed at 20 had a better case than Trump does.

I don't expect them to win here. I wonder how far they plan to go, though - US Supremes?


No one's brain is fully developed at age 20. That is settled science.


Okay but that's not a point of order...

the new law would them and criminals access systems that no legitimate shop would ever need to get data or beam commands to:

Say what?

Never try to jam two thoughts into one sentence; it rarely ends well. Fixed.

Then make and sell me a car that doesn't have computerized stuff and doesn't collect my data.


I'd like auto-breaking and the rear view camera, but those can be self-contained in the car. Other than those, give me solid, basic mechanical.

There's a big market right now for older and non-Deere farm tractors, because John Deere has taken the proprietary-information grift to its maximum. Farmers are famously self-sufficient, and it really galls them to not be able to service their own tractors. Deere claims the farmers don't actually own the machines, that the up-to $800K they spend buys them an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” Deere did it with lawn tractors, too. They were so thorough that this article claims the automakers used the Deere program as the model for their own anticonsumer effort. Caterpillar is also on board with claiming this is all a copyright issue.

And yes, Apple is also an offender.


It's a running story in the Free Software world that auto makers (and many more besides) don't sell products any more, they want to get in on the licensing game.

They should have required auto makers to ONLY use open source code. No secrets. No excuses. Skip the tortured twenty year loss averse psychodrama and get to the point where SELLING things includes a transfer of actual ownership to the buyer.

All cars are computerized these days. This is a computer age.

That's how they justify charging a higher price.

Newest cars I'll ever buy are ones made up to 2006 or '07, because of this kind of thing. Not only are modern cars nothing more than comprehensive surveillance devices that happen to have wheels on them, but the manufacturers don't even want you to have access to your own data or even know what it is.

When I buy a car it's my car not the manufacturers and if I want to give a mechanic access to all the data it's my business. Apple is the same way, if you want to replace some parts in the phone they say it wont work properly. They don't want you to fix they want you to upgrade and car manufacturers just want to retain your business for repairs with dealers.


When you buy a car, the metal belongs to you but the design still belongs to the manufacturer. Looking at a more fine-grained level, the computers embedded in the car belong to you, but the software running on those computers belongs to the manufacturer. Whether the data stored in those computers belongs to you or to the manufacturer is open to debate. The voters in Massachusetts have declared that the data belongs to you and have directed our government to enforce that. The manufacturers have said, "not so fast, government doesn't have the right to take what is ours and give it to you."

I'm not defending the manufacturers here; I'm a solid supporter of right to repair and voted "yes" on that ballot question, and the manufacturers' scare campaign offends me enough that I want to see them get their asses handed to them in court. But the manufacturers' position I outlined above is not an insane one by any means and they're entitled to argue it in court.


All they want to do is change from the little thingy you plug in to extract data to wireless access only, a way around the current law and they are using scare tactics because they think we are stupid.

Does this mean the Carol Higgins-O'Brien ads are going to come back?

The car makers aren't making baseless claims about voter fraud

About voter fraud are only made when the other party wins.

Oh this is easy, if you can't access the data, don't buy the car.

The alliance says auto makers have gone to considerable expense and trouble to develop vehicle data systems that run today's vehicles while remaining secure from hackers and even whole nation-states out to harm the US.

No, they've gone to considerable expense and trouble developing technology to lock up data that by any ethical standard is the private property of the car owner, and now they're upset that the data is being given back to its owner.

This is like a kidnapper claiming he deserves to keep the ransom money because he went to such expense and trouble figuring out how to make off with the victim. Tough sh**.