Last Monday OnStar announced a change in policy for OnStar customers. The policy change would affect anybody that uses OnStar in their vehicles. The announcement stated that after services are cancelled that OnStar won’t disconnect its two way connection unless specifically asked to do so. The two way connection will make it that OnStar will be able to track your vehicle through GPS, unless the customer asks to be disconnected completely from the two way connection. The two way connection will make OnStar able to track your vehicle through GPS tracking Technology.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has made a request to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an investigation into OnStar’s new policy. Even after your subscription based service is cancelled your location and speed would be tracked. As well as keeping this two way connection OnStar stated it would reserve the right to sell to third parties the information collected from former and current customers. Today a letter was sent to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz by Schumer, in the letter Schumer requested that an investigation be launched as to whether or not OnStar is engaging in unfair trade practices. Also a letter was sent to OnStar Executive Linda Marshall attempting to have them take another look at this new policy and not to collect data of driver’s behavior and sell it to third parties.
“By tracking drivers even after they’ve cancelled their service, OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory,” said Schumer. “I urge OnStar to abandon this policy and for FTC to immediately launch a full investigation to determine whether the company’s actions constitute an unfair trade practice.
Six million drivers across America use OnStar services. Most of the new GM cars come with a free 3 month subscription.The practice of obtaining data on drivers without their explicit knowledge is an offense against an individual’s privacy. If a customer or former customer does not want this two way connection anymore they have to ask to specifically remove themselves from this two way connection. Some of the data of your driving habits that will be collected will include driver’s location, speed, odometer reading, seat belt usage and a deployment of an airbag.
Due to negative approval from state officials in multiple states, the following day OnStar has dropped its new policies to keep tracking cancelled subscribers.