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Old 01-07-2008, 10:04 PM   #1
G Alex
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Default Totally disable onstar and tracking devices and black boxes ?

Hey all,

I have an 07 Z-51 with nav and onstar. I know I can be tracked and I know my car can "talk" to onstar even though I dont pay for any service with them. I have had a few techs for Chevy tell me that in the next yr or so the bigwigs at GM will start looking for ways to void warrantys by seeing your car run quarter mile passes, excess speeds etc...

I would like to totally disable my onstar and the black box supposedly in the drivers side airbag that records engine info, speed, rpm etc... I dont want an opportunity for anyone to listen in on my conversation etc...

I lived in a large city at one time and the local news station did a report on video cameras and the monitoring of them. They found that they were being abused and some of the people watching them were following pretty women from place to place and NOT looking for suspicious activity which is what the cameras were installed for. One "security " guy actually killed his girlfriend after witnessing her leave a bar with another guy while he was "at work". He followed her using the citys cameras and then left work. I understood the report to say that he literally "followed" her from the bar to to the interstate etc.. using the citys cameras.

Anyway, I am a business man and dont do anything I would be afraid for anyone to hear, see etc... but I feel that it is MY CAR and I dont want to think for a second that someone at onstar is bored and just clicks in to listen to my conversation. I have never run from the police and never intend to but I would still like the option if I ever chose to. The fact that I can be shut down like a light switch in my own car is ludicrous to me.


I guess I can kinda say it like this, ever have a cop behind you and your tags,insurance,registration is all totally legit, seat belt is on and you are driving 5 under the speed limit, no problems but it is still a little uneasy knowing that the police are right behind you, it makes the best drivers drive a little better.


So does anyone know how to totally disable the onstar system, microphone and all ? It cant just be a fuse can it ? I would really appreciate it. Please save me the, "they have better things to do" and what a "out there person I am to think someone would do such things" as that is not what this thread is about, I want to know how to disable. If someone could help me out, I would appreciate it a lot. Thanks
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:56 PM   #2
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Disconnect the OnStar antenna on the windshield. Disconnecting the electrical connections to the OnStar box itself will probably generate some sort of code or MIL. But with the antenna disconnected, there's no transmission, and no 'monitoring' possible... it just thinks its out of range.

PS: Get a better source of info than the "techs". Since you requested no one question your rampaging paranoia, I won't. (c'mon... its just some ribbing from your forum brothers!)

Last edited by Kent1999; 01-07-2008 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:05 PM   #3
G Alex
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Thanks, I will attempt it this next weekend. I didnt want to set any codes or have any problems. I am not paranoid, just cautious
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:04 AM   #4
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Default Much Bigger Deal than you think!

I have wanted to disable the "black box" since a saw a court case involving a college kid borrowing his father's vette w/ permission ending up in accident involving a fatality of another driver. The carnage of the scene was such the investigators concluded excessive speed was involved, subpeonaed the data on the "black box" revealing speeds in excess of 140mph immediately prior the accident. Charges were amended from wreckless driving to murder using the data stating the driver knowing acted in a manner resulting in a fatality. I'm not sure of the state or the final disposition of the case, but this clearly raises the concern of privacy issues vs right to know from the courts side.

Another case, in NC, a woman was charged w/ murder in a DUI case because she had a previous conviction. The state made the case that she knowingly operated a vehicle under the influence and considered it premeditated. That said, she was convicted of murder, & the case was made for premeditated murder, which in NC carries the death penality.

Someone may make the leap if you are knowingly operating a vehicle in such a manner that may result in fatality you could face the death penality depending on the state the offense occurs.

I'm not an attorney, so if their are attorneys on the forum, & forgive me for my lack proper legalise, but please chime in. I live in Va Beach which borders, NC, so I very clearly remeber the case of the DUI, but if she was convicted of murder because she knowingly operated avehicle in an unsafe manner, would that precedent easily apply to drivers operating vehicles at excessive speeds?
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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I have nothing to hide. Doubt they can hear anything over the radio jamming anyways.
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Old 01-08-2008, 02:13 AM   #6
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Do a search on Digital Corvettes site there is an entire thread on Onstar
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Old 01-08-2008, 02:17 AM   #7
Wayne O
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In the case of the so-called black box....consider in the remote chance its contents are ever retrieved, the information might just be beneficial to you. Good luck disabling the devices though...OnStar shouldn't be a problem but I'm not so sure about the event recorder. Remember...don't use any phones...especially cell phones.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:08 AM   #8
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OnStar has better things to do.

Aren't you a little "out there" to think someone would do such things?

I believe all you have to do is to disconnect the two connectors at the VCIM, and the system will be down.

(They are still watching you via satellite.)
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:39 AM   #9
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just remove the fuse. it disables the onstar. how i know? i tested it by calling onstar on my cell for a tow and onstar said for some reason they couldnt locate my car n ask me where i was so they can come and get me. the person also said i should take my c ar to a service department to have my onstar check out
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:37 AM   #10
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Well, if you believe what is written about the Onstar equipment, they do not have the ability to "just click in" and listen to your phone calls if the call is not made to them. Any calls not made to Onstar are no more or less secure than any other cell phone call you make. There are millions of Onstar equipped vehicles and they do not (and cannot) "track" them all. If you contact them, or the airbags deploy, etc, a signal is sent and they then locate the car.

I believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, however, everyone certainly must do what they are comfortable with.
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:34 AM   #11
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I heard from a Chevy Tech that Onstar can be interrupted if you wear a hat made out of aluminum foil. The only problem is that it amplifies the signals from little green men, and they wil eventually zap you for excess speed.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Black Box

Don't you feel you guys feel the black box is a larger issue, given its data can be used against you. I could care less if they want to know where I am or who I'm talking to, they'll be bored stiff, but in the event of an accident I hate to think the black box could land me in jail or worse given the case precedence which at least in one case I am certain of. Murder conviction!

I do know of another case, where a guy I know, crashed his car drunk, OnStar did its job & when the police showed he was swiftly carted away to jail for DUI. In this case, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving idiot both as a person & for drinking & driving, but again its something to consider.

From a safety standpoint, I feel the OnStar system, offers life saving technology, & would not consider disabling it. The black box however, offers no benefit to the owner I am aware of. Unless your car is stolen & you want to know how fast the thief got going before he totaled your vehicle.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:24 AM   #13
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I guess Ill use my truck for mob hits and bank knock offs.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:32 AM   #14
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In all seriousness there was no ON-STAR in the 2002 case that involved the 3 car incident where 2 cars road racing caused the deaths of 2 people in the Nassau County/Brookville Long Island accident. A corvette and a mercedes crashed into a Jeep with 2 passengers. It is my understanding that many cars store data only when the airbags are depolyed. The mercedes was an E55 supercharged car with increased boost according to locals here where I live, near that town.

The case law is here if you are curious. ON-STAR only accesses trouble codes and defeating it doesnt stop this from happening.

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1105364095740

Last edited by SpinMonster; 01-08-2008 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:36 AM   #15
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The black box may offer some benefit to an owner, as well as being a threat. As it stands, its only readable by a physical connection, and that's only done so in the event of an accident (and that only sometimes).

There are really three cases:

(1) It doesn't matter - things are clear enough anyway. In that case, claim a guy you know only as "Gunther" was driving.

(2) It could "prove" that you weren't speeding or whatever. In that case you might want to use it.

(3) It could put you in jail. Or worse.

The only case you really need to worry about is (3). So really the thing to do is to destroy the box if and only if you don't want it to be used against you. A small thermite charge should do the trick, and could be placed ahead of time so you just need to uncap the destruct switch and push the button.

If you'd prefer to be more discreet (and perhaps safer - after all detonating an incendiary charge right after an accident when there might be gasoline fumes around isn't the smartest thing to do) then pulse the sucker with enough high voltage to destroy the memory. Again, you could wire that up ahead of time, then just trigger it as needed.

As a last resort a few bullets through the case might work.

Now, in the future when these things record more data and are routinely read at inspections or remotely we'll need a good method of faking the data. But that probably won't be needed for a while yet.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:37 AM   #16
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Paranoia of big brother runs deep here. With the MILLIONS of onstar systems and BILLIONS of cell phones in the world, not to mention the TRILLIONS of landlines that can all be easily tapped, who do you guys think has the time for all this monitoring? Yes it can be abused, but the abuser would just find another means to do his dirty deeds. If you aren't plotting murders or transporting drugs or involved in any other dubious activities, what's the problem? In the case of black box evidence being used against you, shouldn't you be held responsible for your actions? This is the problem with this world these days. Everybody wants to blame someone else for their stupidity. If you screw up, OWN UP!

How would you feel about the black box if some guy in a supercharged Honda Civic with 600rwhp slammed into your family's car, killing your kids/wife/girlfriend?

On the other hand, I agree that if you violate a speeding law using reasonable judgement and there was no harm done, I don't like the idea of eventually getting a ticket automatically. But if I screw up doing it and I run into someone, I'll be standing there being responsible for it with no excuses.
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Villareale View Post
Don't you feel you guys feel the black box is a larger issue, given its data can be used against you. I could care less if they want to know where I am or who I'm talking to, they'll be bored stiff, but in the event of an accident I hate to think the black box could land me in jail or worse given the case precedence which at least in one case I am certain of. Murder conviction!

I do know of another case, where a guy I know, crashed his car drunk, OnStar did its job & when the police showed he was swiftly carted away to jail for DUI. In this case, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving idiot both as a person & for drinking & driving, but again its something to consider.

From a safety standpoint, I feel the OnStar system, offers life saving technology, & would not consider disabling it. The black box however, offers no benefit to the owner I am aware of. Unless your car is stolen & you want to know how fast the thief got going before he totaled your vehicle.
I think we are mostly in agreement here...

I am sure that disabling the airbag black box would throw about 1,000 malfunction codes, and am also 100% sure that disabling the blackbox would also prevent the airbags from deploying in an accident. (Just FYI - the C6 seatbelts are designed for a car WITH airbags... they do not work as well if the bags are prevented from deploying.)

As far as the OnStar calling the authorities in case of airbag deployment (your example)... I think we would all agree that if you are in an accident severe enough to blow the bags, a choice between bleeding to death on the side of the road, and surviving & getting a DUI *might* not be such a hard choice to make.

Cheers,
Kent
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:18 PM   #18
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Default Black Boxes Abound!

If you do disconnect it, please let us know how it works out. I actually called a Chevy dealer and was told that OnStar is part of the safety system of the car and as such was illegal to remove. I then called OnStar and was told that it cannot be disconnected because a number of important wires actually run through the system, allowing diagnosis, unlocking of the car and other stuff. I have no idea if any of it is true but they sure seem unwilling to have it disconnected, even though I don't pay for the service.

BTW, there are lots of cars coming out with "black boxes". My 07 Camry Hybrid states openly in the owners manual that "...besides storing data useful for troubleshooting, there is a system to record data in a crash or a near car crash event. This is called an Event Data Recorder." The SRS airbage sensor contains the EDR which can record: Engine speed, brake pedal engagement, vehicle speed, to what extent the gas pedal was depressed, seat belt usage, transmission selection, etc. Bottom line...they're listening!
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:22 PM   #19
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Default And...

On the same Camry, the stability control system has it's own Event Data Recorder that measures and records much of the same stuff but doesn't record sound data such as passenger conversations.
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:00 PM   #20
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I believe, and could be wrong, that event data recording was at the behest of the NHSTA and its justification was to gather data on real world safety involving the deployment of passive restraints. Could insurance companies have an interest in this data? Yes. Could auto manufacturers? Yes. It could be for safety only, but the additional economic benefit to manufacturers and warraty claims, insurance companies in assessing liability, and bureaucrats justifying their tax-payer provided salaries might be a reason too.

Monitoring an individual vehicles speed on highways by sattelite is part of the UK's future "safety programs." We have them to thank in the development of speed camera technology pioneered by the European social protectors. Remember The Committees for Public Safety in US History?
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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