Sep 222011
 September 22, 2011  Posted by  Business, Surveillance

John R. Quain reports on the privacy flap over OnStar mentioned previously on this blog:

A new set of terms and conditions for OnStar, the General Motors-supported safety and connectivity system, is generating privacy concerns among some subscribers, many of whom have been historically sensitive to the potential for abuse. For years, some G.M. car and truck owners have posted elaborate instructions to Internet forums and user groups detailing how to disable built-in OnStar equipment to prevent any tracking of their vehicles.

Last week, OnStar sent e-mails notifying customers of changes in the company’s policies. Some customers say two changes in those terms were of particular concern from the standpoint of privacy.

The first regards what happens when a customer cancels the service. Until now, when OnStar service stopped, so did the vehicle’s two-way communications system. As of Dec. 1, however, that will not necessarily be the case. Vehicles of owners who no longer subscribe could still be monitored via the system’s still-active two-way cellular link.

Read more on New York Times.

OnStar responded to the flap by uploading a video to YouTube, but the video has not damped down the growing criticism.

Continuing to collect data on people who have cancelled their service? Seriously, OnStar? When a subscriber cancels the service, that should end all data collection and it should not be one the consumer to have to opt out or take any additional steps to stop data collection.

I expect lawsuits and FTC complaints over this one unless OnStar gets its corporate head out of its tuchus and revises its T&C to be more privacy-centric.

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