Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Brother Is Watching You - Even After You Tell Him To Stop

Maybe it's time for all of us to re-read 1984, with emphasis on the slogan "Big Brother is Watching You." That certainly seems to be the case with Government Motor's new OnStar 'privacy' (*snort*) policy.

Government Motors is now spying on you via OnStar even after you turn it off.
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.
Note that the "other data" mentioned above includes your credit card information. Also note that the new so-called 'privacy' policy allows GM to share or sell that information to other parties.
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.

"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."
In other words, you can opt out of the data collection, but you have to do so twice. Once when you discontinue the service, and then a second time to tell GM you really mean it. Kind of like those little popup boxes that ask "Are you sure you want to delete this file?"

In this case I'd like to delete GM.

Of course, in true government fashion, it takes three weeks to process your request and turn off the service. In the meantime, OnStar keeps collecting your data.

Or you can just pull the fuse.

Just another reason why I'll never buy a Government Motors product...


Old NFO said...


Anonymous said...

All the major car rental companies use SatNav or a similar device to know where their cars are in real time.

Verizon uses it to track their trucks and fleet cars as well.

welcome to "Big Brother"!

CenTexTim said...

And don't even get me started on cell phones...