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OnStar’s “Brazen” Spying May Trigger Government Investigation

GM unit apologies for “confusion” caused by new policies.

by on Sep.26, 2011

Big Brother is watching you? OnStar's Command Center.

The possibility that General Motors’ telematics unit OnStar could spy on motorists – even after they stop subscribing to the service – has triggered a call for a government investigation by a leading U.S. senator who described the move as a “brazen” invasion of privacy.

A change made last week to OnStar’s Terms and Conditions will now only allow the service to not only track data such as mileage, speed and location of vehicles operated by current and former subscribers but also to sell that information to third parties. The GM subsidiary apologized over the weekend for any “confusion” it might have caused but said it intends to continue the practice.

Get Behind the Wheel!

“By tracking drivers even after they’ve cancelled their service, OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory,” said New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer. “I urge OnStar to abandon this policy and for (the Federal Trade Commission) to immediately launch a full investigation to determine whether the company’s actions constitute an unfair trade practice.”

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OnStar Under Fire for “Big Brother” Monitoring

Even after canceling subscription GM service retains right to track a vehicle.

by on Sep.22, 2011

Big Brother is calling?

A series of low-profile changes in the OnStar terms of service are generating a high level of anxiety among privacy advocates and others worried that the General Motors telematics service is turning itself into Big Brother.

The revisions mean that even after canceling service OnStar not only reserves the right to track a vehicle, collecting data such as speed and location, but also to sell that data to local governments, for example, or to companies that might want to use such information for targeted marketing.

Stay in the Loop!

“Under our new Terms and Conditions, when a customer cancels service, we have informed customers that OnStar will maintain a two-way connection to their vehicle unless they ask us not to do so,” the company confirmed in a press release.

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