OnStar to Track Speed, Location of Cars, Even After Users Opt Out

Cars with OnStar’s built-in technology will begin having their where-abouts monitored in December, even if their owners opt-out of the service, according to a new privacy statement issued by the vehicle navigation and emergency notification service this week.

OnStarCars with OnStar’s built-in technology will begin having their where-abouts monitored in December, even if their owners opt-out of the service, according to a new privacy statement issued by the vehicle navigation and emergency notification service this week.

The document, available here in .PDF form, was sent out on Monday to alert the company’s six million plus subscriber base, leading to howls of protest from OnStar customers, who accuse parent GM of selling their private data to its partners.

“Unless the Data Connection in your Vehicle is deactivated, information about your Vehicle may continue to be collected even if you do not have a Plan,” reads one section of the statement.

The company claims to reserve the right to share location information with law enforcement, public safety officials, credit card processors and other third parties. The move opens a litany of privacy questions revolving around how this information will be disseminated.

OnStar, a subsidiary of General Motors, has long collected metrics about its users’ car: How often the vehicle is refueled, tire pressure, and odometer and oil readings. This type of data is constantly being gathered and factored into the service’s surveillance but a new, additional bullet point in the privacy statement broadens OnStar’s data extraction. OnStar claims they can now monitor your car’s speed and GPS location “for any purpose, at any time” to share on an “anonymized basis.”

While OnStar doesn’t currently sell its customers’ information, the company reserves that right, according to a Wired interview with OnStar company spokesman Adam Denison.

Several companies have received their fair share of criticism as of late when it comes to the tracking of their customers. Apple and Google gained notoriety early this summer and were even called upon to testify at a hearing regarding smart phone tracking while Mozilla, Google and Microsoft each added a “do not track” mechanism to their browsers over the last few months.

OnStar is encouraging subscribers concerned with its revamped Terms and Conditions to join in a conversation on Twitter with the company’s manager, Adam Denison and its Vice President of Public Relations, Vijay Iyer, tomorrow at noon EST.

Suggested articles

Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    And how many people who have OnStar in their vehicle that don't subscribe are they spying on????  How do we opt out?  I won't buy another GM product with OnStar in it.  NO F'NG WAY!

  • Anonymous on

    I subscribe to OnStar. Privacy has gone out the window a long time ago so I am not going to lose any sleep over this. Frankly, I like the idea that if my car is stolen, they can disable it on the thief; if I lose my keys, they can open the vehicle for me; if I am lost or far from civilization and need help, I can get it dispatched immediately. If I should ever be in a crash, they know instantly and if they cannot communicate with me, they will dispatch the police and an ambulance and that may well save my life. And, it is nice to know when the oil needs changing, tire pressure, etc. I have nothing to hide and if they want to know when I visited the grocery store or my doctor, who cares!! bigcookie
  • Anonymous on

    So we, the taxpayers, allowed Obumble to increase the deficit to bail out this sinking company so they could help the government and Big Business spy on us?

    Please remember this in November 2012. And don't buy their cars.

    "I have nothing to hide" may be your opinion; however, we have a Constitution that protects us against unreasonable search and seizure. This attitude will soon turn to "I have nothing to say", "I have no right to worship", etc.

  • Anonymous on

    Is this the next generation of the photo-enforced speed limits?  Will I be getting tickets in the mail from OnStar now?

    So how exactly do we disconnect the data cable?

     

     

  • Anonymous on

    how about unplug the antenna? just a thought. 

  • Slicker on

    Just pull the onstar fuse, thats what i'll be doing

     

Subscribe to our newsletter, Threatpost Today!

Get the latest breaking news delivered daily to your inbox.