Security Innovation Dispelling Misconceptions About V2V Technology Safety and Privacy with White House Officials

Wilmington, MASeptember 8, 2016 – In response to a joint FCC filing, Dr. William Whyte, Chief Scientist at Security Innovation and author of the IEEE 1609.2 V2V security standard met with White House officials and members of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week to discuss DSRC security. 

Last month, a petition was made in a joint FCC filing by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers to deny a request by Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation for an emergency stay on the use of dedicated short range communications in the 5.9GHz spectrum band.

Dr. Whyte reviewed past efforts to standardize the architecture and the development of a Security Credential Management System to support millions of DSRC devices in cars and intersections.

“There is no doubt that connected cars are vulnerable to hacking and the examples the petition provided do an excellent job proving that,” said Dr. Whyte. “However, all of those attacks were done through cellular connections, On Board Diagnostic (OBD-2) port dongles, Remote Keyless Entry fobs and other wireless connections.  Unlike each of these technologies, DSRC was designed from the start with security and privacy in mind.”

Regina Hopper, ITSA president and CEO accompanied Dr. Whyte on his recent trip to the White House to discuss ITSA’s stance and why it is imperative to reject the stay.

“It is essential that the intelligent transportation revolution, powered in no small part by the 5.9GHz safety spectrum, continue,” said Regina Hopper.  “From saving lives to reducing emissions to easing traffic congestion, the full promise of intelligent transportation is transformative.  Such a move would be reckless and unwarranted, undermining the clear public interest.”

The intention of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems in the 5.9 GHz spectrum band is for V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communications to help promote the safety of life of automobile drivers, passengers and pedestrians by wirelessly communicating a car’s speed, location, direction of travel braking, and loss of stability.

The US Department of Transportation, state transportation agencies and the intelligent transportation industry are seeking to make DSRC a nationwide standard for all vehicles and traffic control systems, allowing cars to communicate with one another as well as traffic lights, pedestrians, and cyclists at close distances to prevent crashes and reduce congestion. DSRC incorporates robust security and privacy safeguards, and estimates suggest that DSRC-based systems could prevent up to 80% of unimpaired crash scenarios, saving thousands of lives each year.

However, the cable television and high-tech industries want to take away a large share of the radio airwaves the government dedicated for V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communications, and use it instead for super-fast Wi-Fi service.

The biggest issue surrounding the filings is due to the fact that the Federal Communications Commission regulates spectrum and sympathizes with wireless proponents, while NHTSA regulates auto safety and has long made V2V a top priority. The White House, which is currently reviewing NHTSA's proposal to require the technology in new cars, is caught between two of its goals: greater auto safety and faster wireless service.

The FCC has made no official ruling on the stay or the petition, but they are currently evaluating “the science and engineering behind these sharing technologies and determine which best serves the American public.

About Security Innovation 

Since 2002, Security Innovation has been the trusted partner for cybersecurity risk analysis and mitigation for the world’s leading companies, including Microsoft, Sony, GM, Disney, Google and Dell.  Recognized as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Awareness Computer-Based Training for the second year in a row, Security Innovation is dedicated to securing and protecting sensitive data in the most challenging environments - automobiles, desktops, web applications, mobile devices and in the cloud. Security Innovation is privately held and headquartered in Wilmington, MA USA. For more information, visit www.securityinnovation.com.