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They'd never do THAT

Larrry

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GM's OnStar now spying on your car for profit even after you unsubscribe? [UPDATE]
By Zach Bowman RSS feed

Posted Sep 21st 2011 4:28PM

Comments185

If you're the owner of a fairly new General Motors product, you may want to take a close look at the most recent OnStar terms and conditions. As it turns out, the company has altered the parameters under which it can legally collect GPS data on your vehicle.

Originally, the terms and conditions stated that OnStar could only collect information on your vehicle's location during a theft recovery or in the midst of sending emergency services your way. That has apparently changed. Now, OnStar says that it has the right to collect and sell personal, yet supposedly anonymous information on your vehicle, including speed, location, seat belt usage and other information.

Who would be interested in that data, you ask? Law enforcement agencies, for starters, as well as insurance companies. Perhaps the most startling news to come out of the latest OnStar terms and conditions is the fact that the company can continue to collect the information even after you disconnect the service. If you want the info to be cut off all together, you'll have to specifically shut down the vehicle's data connection. If that sounds scary, you should check out a full breakdown of the new policies here.

*UPDATE: OnStar has released a statement in response to the dust up over its newest set of terms and conditions. You can find the full text after the jump.
 

Faster horses

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We have OnStar. It was costing us $18.95/mo.
I decided to cancel the subscription, but when I called in to
do so, they said I had unused phone minutes I had paid for. So
they gave me a deal. 3 months FREE and then $12.95/month
for 12 additional months.

It irritates me that they can offer a better deal, but they
don't......until you call to cancel. Sorry way to keep business.
Now after reading this, I think I'll call and cancel anyway. :x
 
A

Anonymous

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So I suppose EDR's will be blamed on Obama too? Might as well as you blame everything else on him :roll: ...

Too bad folks haven't looked at whats been happening around them for the past 20 years!! Cadillacs and some others have had them for a long time.....

Does Your Car Have a Black Box?
Event data recorders know when you've been speeding, and when you've hit the brake.

By Paul Boutin
Posted Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003, at 12:25 PM ET
.

After South Dakota Rep. and former Gov. Bill Janklow, R-S.D., collided with a motorcycle last weekend, a state prosecutor said investigators believed Janklow may have run a stop sign, causing the crash in which the motorcyclist died.*

Associated Press reported that according to a South Dakota highway patrol officer, "Janklow's 1995 Cadillac has a black box, which records information such as how fast the car was going and whether the brakes were applied." How many cars have such black boxes, and what information do they record?

Black boxes—event data recorders like the ones found in airliners—are increasingly common in automobiles and vary from one type of car to another. But cars with airbags have long had onboard computers with the sensors and software necessary to determine within 1/100 of a second that you're in a crash; that's how cars know when to deploy the bags. These computers, called sensing and diagnostic modules, are located inside the transmission hump, behind the dashboard, or under the seat, and constantly collect and process data on the car's acceleration or deceleration. Airbag-equipped cars made by General Motors (which owns Cadillac) have had SDMs since 1974.

Beginning in the 1999 model year, though, GM upgraded SDMs to include an event data recorder. The newer SDMs track the car's speed (from the speedometer), engine RPM, the exact position of the gas pedal, and whether or not the brake pedal was pressed, among other statistics. The SDM keeps the previous five seconds' worth of this data in its onboard memory and, if the airbags are deployed, saves the most recent five seconds as a snapshot of events leading up to a possible collision. Ford and Isuzu added similar features to some models in this decade. Santa Barbara-based Vetronix sells a $2,500 "crash data recovery" gadget that will download the logs from these computers (the company lists what years and models it works with, and what data is recoverable).

Auto engineers designed and installed event-logging SDMs to study accidents and improve their cars' safety, but the data from the boxes has also proven admissible in court. This June, a Florida driver was sentenced to 30 years in prison based on the data in his car's SDM, which showed him to be barreling down a suburban street at 114 mph seconds before he struck and killed two teenagers in another car.
 

hypocritexposer

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yes, Cadillac has been collecting GPS data on you and selling the personal information since the 90s

:roll:
 

Lonecowboy

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Mike said:
Where did anyone blame Onstar on Obama?

OT is an idiot. :roll:

maybe he is confusing by obama's socialistic/communistic take over of Government Motors-------



say when did this new terms and conditions policy change take place? :???:
 

Larrry

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http://www.autoblog.com/2011/09/21/gms-onstar-now-spying-on-your-car-for-profit-even-after-you-uns/
 

Lonecowboy

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this will really boost sales eh? :wink:

The navigation company OnStar is attracting strong criticism after announcing last week that it would continue to monitor drivers’ speeds and GPS locations — and sell the information to third parties such as law enforcement — even after customers end their contracts. Outrage ensued and even U.S. lawmakers have now entered the fray.

OnStar is a subsidiary of General Motors, which is still partly owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments after receiving billions in bailouts

Almost immediately after OnStar announced the changes to its privacy policy set to take effect in December, privacy activists and civil-liberties groups expressed concern. Indeed, the company has been deluged with bad publicity about the changes in recent days. Critics attacked the schemes as everything from “spying” to “Big Brother.”

Among the many changes, OnStar said it would share the data it collects with marketers, police, public safety authorities, foreign governments in countries where it stores data, and others — even after users cancel their subscriptions. The information the company gathers includes everything from the location and speed of a car to seat belt usage and phone records.

“We may use the information we collect about you and your Vehicle to improve the quality of our Service and offerings and may share the information we collect with law enforcement or other public safety officials, credit card processors and/or third parties we contract with who conduct joint marketing initiatives with OnStar,” the update said. “Unless the Data Connection to your Vehicle is deactivated, data about your Vehicle will continue to be collected even if you do not have a Plan.”

One of the first experts to draw attention to the policy changes was Jonathan Zdziarski, senior forensic scientist at Via Forensics, who promptly canceled his OnStar subscription and blasted the new terms and conditions. He noted on his blog that the updates were “very unsettling” and “too shady.”

Making matters worse, claims that OnStar would normally make the GPS data anonymous before selling it are hard to swallow. “It’s impossible,” Zdziarski said. “If your vehicle is consistently parked at your home, driving down your driveway, or taking a left or right turn onto your street every single day, its pretty obvious that this is where you live!”

The potential for abuse is huge, he noted. OnStar could, for example, provide information on speeders or seat-belt usage to the police. Or insurance companies could use the data to monitor their customers and raise their rates.

“Shame on you, OnStar, for even giving yourselves the right to do this,” wrote Zdziarski. “Even more insulting, it was difficult to ensure the data connection was shut down after canceling,” he noted, saying the company repeatedly ignored his request to shut down the connection.

OnStar and other “large abusive data warehousing companies desperately need to be investigated,” he concluded. “When will our congress pass legislation that stops the American people’s privacy from being raped by large data warehousing interests?”

After Zdziarski’s blog post, news of the privacy changes exploded into the headlines across America. And countess other customers were apparently furious, too.

Two top U.S. lawmakers even got involved. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Delaware) sent a letter to the company saying, among other things, that the policy highlighted the need for new consumer-privacy legislation.

"OnStar's actions appear to violate basic principles of privacy and fairness for OnStar's approximately six million customers — especially for those customers who have already ended their relationships with your company," the letter stated. Both of the senators sponsored a bill earlier this year that would require informed consent before companies could collect and share consumer information.

"OnStar is telling its current and former customers that it can track their location anywhere, anytime — even if they cancel their subscriptions — and then give or sell that information to anyone as long as OnStar deems it safe to do so," the lawmakers complained in the letter. The company told Bloomberg News it would respond to the congressional inquiry directly.

And it isn’t just lawmakers and forensic scientists who are upset. Numerous analysts have warned about the implications of the company’s new approach as well.

“OnStar must be very careful how they handle this issue of the changes in policy and to whom and how they provide the acquired data or they may be adding fuel to the user privacy concerns fire,” noted Technorati's Cesar Ortiz, an information security expert.

From the New York Times’ “Wheels” section and various auto-related publications to Discovery News and Wired, many other media outlets also highlighted the concerns. Even financial publications picked up the news.

Various OnStar spokesmen were quoted in the press trying to downplay the seriousness of the policy changes. But after the wave of bad publicity and criticism continued to grow, the company eventually released an official statement. “Our guiding practices regarding sharing our subscribers’ personal information have not changed,” said Vice President of Subscriber Services Joanne Finnorn. “We apologize for creating any confusion about our Terms and Conditions.... As always, we are listening to our subscribers’ feedback and we will continue to be open to their suggestions and concerns.”

Critics, however, are still upset. And nothing really changed despite the furor. Meanwhile, Ford, which did not receive a government bailout, announced last week that it was adding new features to its Sync system — including the ability to reach a live operator for help, which has traditionally been one of OnStar’s big selling points.

The new OnStar privacy policies will not be in effect until December. But because shutting down the two-way connection between OnStar and vehicles equipped with the technology takes several weeks, commentators suggested that users concerned about their privacy should start the process soon.
 

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