UPDATE 9/27/2011: OnStar is Watching… Whether You’re Paying or Not!

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Onstar Logo1.jpgby John Coyle
Corvette Forum

Here’s a bit of news that’s disturbing, but not surprising. OnStar has just released an update to it’s privacy policy which gives the General to sell the data collected from vehicles equipped with the service to anyone who’s interested.

The real kicker is that it will continue to collect the data even on those vehicles where the service has expired, or the owner has specifically canceled OnStar. To keep a vehicle from being tracked, those canceling will have to specifically ask to have the connection between the company and the car be stopped. This feels kind of sneaky to me. 

Give how lax security can be at some companies, it would probably be wise to take any talk of “anonymized” data or promises to cut the cord with a tablespoon of salt. Some sites are recommending that concerned users pull the OnStar fuse, but member Gearhead Jim has pointed out that this seems to disable the Bluetooth mics in Corvettes, so he removed the systems antenna box from the windshield.

How do you feel about this play from OnStar? Is the sky falling? Or is it no big deal? Head over to the Forum and sound off!

UPDATE 9/27/2011: OnStar Reverses Decision to Change Terms and Conditions. Full
Press Release Below.

DETROIT ? OnStar announced today it is reversing its proposed Terms and Conditions policy changes and will not keep a data connection to customers? vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

OnStar recently sent e-mails to customers telling them that effective Dec. 1, their service would change so that data from a customer vehicle would continue to be transmitted to OnStar after service was canceled ? unless the customer asked for it to be shut off.

?We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,? OnStar President Linda Marshall said. ?This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers? hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.?

If OnStar ever offers the option of a data connection after cancellation, it would only be when a customer opted-in, Marshall said. And then OnStar would honor customers? preferences about how data from that connection is treated.

Maintaining the data connection would have allowed OnStar to provide former customers with urgent information about natural disasters and recalls affecting their vehicles even after canceling their service. It also would have helped in planning future services, Marshall said.

 ?We regret any confusion or concern we may have caused,? Marshall said.

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John Coyle is a longtime auto journalist and editor who contributes to Corvette Forum and LS1Tech, among many other sites.

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