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Privacy Transportation

OnStar Terms and Conditions Update Raises Privacy Concerns 185

PainMeds writes "An article by author Jonathan Zdziarski reveals that OnStar has recently updated their terms and conditions to allow the company to sell customer GPS coordinates, vehicle speed, and other information to third party marketers and analytics companies, where it could be used for a number of nefarious purposes. He says, 'To add insult to a slap in the face, the company insists they will continue collecting and selling this personal information even after you cancel your service, unless you specifically shut down the data connection to the vehicle after canceling. ... It sounds as though OnStar is poising part of their analytics department to be purchased by a large data warehousing company, such as a Google, or perhaps even an Apple. Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?"
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OnStar Terms and Conditions Update Raises Privacy Concerns

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  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @10:16PM (#37463536)

    Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?

    Of course I don't. I don't own a vehicle that has the ability to be shut off remotely either, because I don't trust a company or the systems with something that important. I would not trust the electric company with my refrigerator either. The very fact the control exists with a 3rd party is unacceptable.

    If you are worried about being tracked, OnStar is the least of your concerns. It applies to a single source of data that is not always with you.

    Anybody that really cares about this should wonder what data is being collected with your smart phones, etc. Verizon can track you better than OnStar ever could.

    All of your devices with their own dedicated data connections also track you far better. Sprint HotSpot? Those things can track you just like a cell phone too.

    The only thing surprising about this is that OnStar tried slipping it into the TOS, except just selling the data anyways with some legal sleight of hand.

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @10:50PM (#37463806)

    The fact that OnStar took pains to alter their ToS in this specific fashion means that they're clearly thinking about it and perhaps even planning to do it. The INTENT is clearly stated, and intent is all that matters. Since OnStar intends to make such a thing legally and technically feasible, they can't be trusted NOT to do it.

  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:11AM (#37464266)

    My real question in all of this is, Who is asking for this information?

    Google would like to know where the traffic jams are. Stores would like to know who drives by and does not stop. Your insurance company would like to know how fast you are driving. The police would like to know who was driving away from the bar at closing time. And your wife's divorce lawyer would like to know where you were late Tuesday night.

  • by the CIA mind-control ( 2466322 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @01:15AM (#37464548)
    Still, at least OnStar is undertaking this for good, clean, capitalistic profit motives, and not for any conceivable usage in oppression and repression. There is no chance that the government would ever consider abusing these kind of commercial access arrangements to work around any theoretical constitutional limitations on tracking the citizens we own. There is nothing to fear.
  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @07:48AM (#37466224)

    If you're naive enough to have bought a car with OnStar in it in the first place... as a general rule, the equivalent car from a Japanese or European manufacturer will handle better, will get better mileage, will be cheaper to insure, and will cost less to buy. The *only* reason to get a GM car is if you want to opt in to OnStar, or if you live in one of those places where people start egging your house if you don't buy American. (and in that case, buy a Ford... they're generally better cars than GM, and they don't have OnStar either.)

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.