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Reason #217 Not to Buy a GM Car

Friday, September 23, 2011, 18:48 EST Leave a comment Go to comments

From George Orwell's 1984 - Big Brother Is Watching YouVia Glenn Reynolds comes this article from Wired.com revealing that the OnStar system installed in Government General Motors vehicles continues collecting data about your car’s movement even if you aren’t a subscriber any more. If you don’t like it, you have to explicitly tell them to stop. And if you continue the service, you have no control over when, why, and how they might use the data they collect.

Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

[ . . . ]

“What’s changed [is that if] you want to cancel your OnStar service, we are going to maintain a two-way connection to your vehicle unless the customer says otherwise,” Denison said in a telephone interview.

[ . . . ] Canceling customers must opt out of the continued surveillance monitoring program, according to the privacy policy.

The privacy changes take effect in December, Denison said, adding that the policy reinforces the company’s right to sell anonymized data.

[ . . . ]

Collecting location and speed data via GPS might also create a treasure trove of data that could be used in criminal and civil cases. One could also imagine an eager police chief acquiring the data to issue speeding tickets en masse.

For a private business to do this is bad enough. Coming from an entity as entwined with the federal government as GM has become makes it even worse. Why would any sane person use this service and subject themselves to such gross invasions of privacy? There are less intrusive—and much cheaper—ways to ensure your safety and security when you drive.

Sage advice from the Den Mother: Join AAA and carry a cell phone.

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