OnStar Drops Plan To Monitor Non-Subscribers

from the recalculating... dept

Given the widespread public backlash over OnStar’s plan to keep tracking people after they’d canceled their service — and to potentially sell aggregate info to advertisers — it appears that OnStar did what many people expected and backed away from the plan. It may have helped that a bunch of Senators had raised some questions about the legality of the move in the first place. The new plan will leave tracking as an option, but only on an opt-in basis, rather than an opt-out basis. As OnStar’s President explained it, “We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers.” That’s PR-speak for “we totally screwed up.”

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Companies: gm, onstar

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Comments on “OnStar Drops Plan To Monitor Non-Subscribers”

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Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re:

absolutely. The irony to this is that very few sites will offer this because they see $$ figures about “behavioral tracking” and get idiotic. That applies to almost every website on the web, which has made the excuse of “we can’t survive without ads” and then attacks the users who dare to question it. I think there have been articles about this before.

I remember techreport (the website), when it made super annoying ads, and people were commenting on using adblock, would be threatened with a “one more time and you’re banned” (along with comment deletion) for daring to mention circumventing their ads, as if it’s a mystery. Yes, they threatened me and said this was policy.

however, the greatest mistake in the first place is getting a vehicle that has onstar.

Rich Kulawiec says:

It doesn't matter

I guarantee you that this issue will resurface. Once a company has made the strategic decision to sacrifice the privacy of its customers for profit, the only remaining questions are when, and where, and how. They’ll either do this secretly, or they’ll do part of it, or they’ll sneak the opt-in into an agreement, or they’ll outsource to someone else (for plausible denialability) or they’ll do something else — but they will do it, because there’s no way that they’re going to leave all that money on the table.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re: It doesn't matter

May soon be illegal to remove/disable these devices. There have been rumors and occasional stories to the effect that GPS devices will be required to tax you based on the miles driven.

Also see this article: “Feds to require black box event recorders in all new cars”. The article writes: “This sounds like a sensible idea, as long as strict limits are places on what data is recorded, and who has access to it. The potential for abuse is huge, such as cops using it to issue speeding tickets, or GPS data being used in a divorce case to show who you were visiting. Still, the upside could be pretty significant too, for example proving that you weren’t speeding when you had an accident.”

Steve R. (profile) says:

Beyond the Tracking - "Home" can control your device

For some reason this OnStar story raised the issue that we are “losing” control over our electronic devices since they are connected to “home”. Think PlayStation and Kindle.

Along with so-called “intellectual property”, we need to be very concerned with the ability of “home” to manipulate your electronic devices, which me even rat on you.

I also remember this from the TV Show “Outer Limits”

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits.”

Quote from IMDB

Haywood (profile) says:

Another reason not to buy GM

I won’t even buy a used GM car /truck if it has on-star. Why would anyone want an open mic in their car. I don’t think you need to be involved in nefarious activity to want to have a private place. I’m sure there are ways to disable the system, and if I wanted the vehicle bad enough I’d look into that, but I couldn’t just ignore it and live with it.

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