GM Drops Proposed OnStar Policy Changes

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Under attack from privacy advocates and US Senators, Onstar will be dropping plans to automatically track vehicles that are not subscribed to its service, and will make post-cancellation tracking an opt-in option, rather than opt-out. A GM statement reads:

DETROIT – OnStar announced today it is reversing its proposed Terms and Conditions policy changes and will not keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

OnStar recently sent e-mails to customers telling them that effective Dec. 1, their service would change so that data from a customer vehicle would continue to be transmitted to OnStar after service was canceled – unless the customer asked for it to be shut off.

“We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,” OnStar President Linda Marshall said. “This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers’ hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.”

If OnStar ever offers the option of a data connection after cancellation, it would only be when a customer opted-in, Marshall said. And then OnStar would honor customers’ preferences about how data from that connection is treated.

Maintaining the data connection would have allowed OnStar to provide former customers with urgent information about natural disasters and recalls affecting their vehicles even after canceling their service. It also would have helped in planning future services, Marshall said.

“We regret any confusion or concern we may have caused,” Marshall said.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Dvp cars Dvp cars on Sep 27, 2011

    .....I can almost hear the weeping, wailing, and gnashing at law enforcement offices across the continent. One of their most effective alibi busting tools just got taken away.......just when their investigators were getting used to it (or should have been).

    • See 2 previous
    • Dvp cars Dvp cars on Sep 27, 2011

      @redmondjp ....yes, I'm sure that WAS going on with OnStar, but what I'm unclear on, given this about-face, is whether the monitoring is now technologically possible, regardless of the legalities involved.

  • BMWfan BMWfan on Sep 27, 2011

    When I found out about this, I called them right away and gave em hell. I will be looking for the correct fuse to pull so I don't have to worry about it anymore, because now I don't trust them. I also don't use EZpass because the government has no right to know where I have been, or where I'm going. When I bought my Acura in 2006, I had no idea what this system was capable of. I will not make the same mistake again, and I will NEVER buy a GM vehicle because of this attempted deception. I can deal with a black box but listening in on a private conversation, in a vehicle I bought and paid for, is a little too Orwellian for me.

    • See 2 previous
    • Majeskyb Majeskyb on Sep 28, 2011

      Just as a heads-up, pulling the fuse only disables the rear-view mirror, from what I've read. To deactivate OnStar, you're going to have to find the controller under your dash, and pull it out. On the upside, you can reuse the gps antenna cable for your own nav system.

  • Potemkin Potemkin on Oct 05, 2011

    I am not naive enough to believe that OnStar won't keep collecting and selling whatever data they get from an active or lapsed account. They say they'll quit but whose going to police them. Trust no one.