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DOJ and FTC support MEMA petition on expanding consumer access to vehicle operational, diagnostic and telematics data

MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers’ proposed exemption would allow consumers to view their vehicle’s telematics data and share that data with third-party repairers

Washington, D.C.—MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers applauds the submission last week from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the U.S Copyright Office supporting MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers’ petition for a new exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s anti-circumvention provisions, which prohibit bypassing copyright protection systems. MEMA’s proposed exemption would allow consumers to view their vehicle’s telematics data and share that data with third-party repairers.

The DOJ and FTC agreed with MEMA that providing consumers access to their vehicle’s telematics data would pose a minimal threat to copyright holders. Just as important, they agreed that this data could be accessed without increasing cybersecurity risks. 

The DOJ and FTC noted that given the low-risk nature of the proposed uses of telematics data, limiting consumers’ choices in where and how they repair their vehicles through data restrictions is unwarranted. The proposed exemption addresses the changes in the automotive repair industry as vehicles become increasingly software controlled.

The DOJ and FTC comments noted, “Restricting access to non-copyrightable telematics data risks establishing a competitively harmful bottleneck by depriving users of the ability to share this data with aftermarket parts manufacturers, third-party maintenance and repair services, and other adjacent markets that would put such information to valuable commercial use.”

Paul McCarthy, MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers’ President and CEO, said, “The DOJ and FTC’s comments speak to the strength of the arguments MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers, and its members, have been making in support of consumers’ right to repair their vehicles. Their conclusion supports our point that consumers will benefit from having more repair options and that they can utilize these options in a cybersecure way. This goal should guide our policymaking efforts.” 

Vehicle telematics data is data automatically generated and transmitted wirelessly by a vehicle which can include information about a vehicle’s speed, fuel consumption, faults, and other data concerning the vehicle’s operation. The data communicated by telematics are vital to helping diagnose and prognose vehicle repair and service, which can increase consumer safety and reduce repair costs and vehicle downtime.

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