Amid VW Scandal, Critics Want Access To Carmakers' Computer Code

Read the NPR Article here.

Kit Walsh, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, thinks this is wrong. "Think of crash test dummies," he says. "Those safety tests are relied on by a majority of Americans in deciding what vehicles to trust and to rely upon. And the same kind of analysis should be possible with computers, given the crucial role that they play in controlling safety-critical systems as well as emissions systems."

 Walsh says if independent researchers had access to the code in VWs, for instance, they might have detected the cheating software much sooner and revealed that the clean diesel the company touted in a recent TV ad wasn't so clean.

An exemption to the law that would allow researchers and owners to access car software has been fought by the auto industry. And, Walsh says, the industry had an unexpected ally. "We were surprised to see that the EPA wrote in against the exemption, particularly given that the investigation against Volkswagen must have been underway at that point," he says.