Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Jessica Rosenworcel (pictured) cautioned automotive manufacturers and mobile operators about the potential misuse of connected car technologies to stalk and harass domestic abuse survivors.

Rosenworcel wrote to AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon to ask them about their existing connected car services and treatment of geolocation data. She also sought information on whether the operators complied with the Safe Connections Action of 2022.

She issued letters to nine of the largest automakers in the US marketplace seeking “details about the connected car systems they offer, any existing plans to support survivors in their efforts to disconnect from abusers and how these companies handle consumers’ geolocation data”.

In a letter to the Ford Motor Company, the FCC outlined how connected apps, devices, or other features could be used to track a vehicle’s location in real-time or historically.

The letter cited a story by The New York Times in 2023 which detailed how a woman was tracked by a former partner through connected services associated with the car she was driving.

Rosenworcel stated survivors of domestic violence and abuse should not have to choose between giving up their vehicles or allowing themselves to be stalked and harmed by those who can access their data and connectivity.

She noted the FCC needed to “work with auto and wireless industry leaders to find solutions”.