Judiciary Committee approves Wieckowski bill to protect consumer privacy rights on in-vehicle cameras

March 16, 2021

SACRAMENTO –  As more cars become equipped with in-vehicle cameras capable of recording the interior of the vehicle cabin and the actions of the driver, consumers face another threat to their privacy in a place where they might spend a great deal of their time every day.

To reduce this potential loss of privacy, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved with bipartisan support SB 346, a bill by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) requiring that consumers be informed at the time of purchase if a camera is installed inside a car, and prohibiting video recordings from being used for advertising or sold to third parties.

“People spend a considerable amount of time inside their cars – commuting to work, running errands, going shopping or talking to friends,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Judiciary Committee.  “Without the protection provided by SB 346, they will see a significant erosion of their privacy as information from in-vehicle camera videos are sold to third parties. By getting in front of this issue today, we can raise awareness and protect the privacy of consumers as this technology becomes more prevalent.”

Cadillac, BMW and Hyundai are among the companies with in-vehicle cameras installed in their models. The use of in-vehicle cameras to monitor a driver’s gaze, attentiveness and to record sensitive data allows private companies to build composites of consumers’ habits and likes that can be used for targeted advertising.

"The amount of personal data collected through the use of these emerging technologies requires further regulation,” said Robert Herrell, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. “The Consumer Federation of California believes that images collected by in-vehicle cameras are particularly sensitive and California should enact strict regulations such as those in Senator Wieckowski's SB 346 to ensure that new technology or features do not come at the expense of consumer privacy. Drivers and consumers deserve strong protections as vehicles and vehicle technology continue to evolve and change into the future."

In addition to the Consumer Federation of California, SB 346 is supported by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumer Attorneys of California, Consumer Watchdog and Oakland Privacy.

SB 346 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District, which includes southern Alameda County and northeast Santa Clara County.