By on September 30, 2014


Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot water in a dozen states, to say the least.

Automotive News reports GM and Chevrolet will send a software update in October to address the problems that could await owners in two-party states — California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington — were the data recorder used without the consent of the valet. The automaker also notified dealers to inform their customers to not use the system until the update goes through.

The proposed fix could include removing audio recording from the feature, adding a warning informing valets that they’re being recorded, or another method under consideration.

Another notification, signed by GM senior vice president for global quality and customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, instructs customers to refrain from using the valet mode, or to inform the valet they would be recorded upon taking the car, and to “obtain their consent.”

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21 Comments on “Valet Mode Data Recorder In 2015 Corvettes Could Bring Legal Trouble For Some...”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    That really blows, they should have adopted the Hellcat system that almost cripples the car in valet mode.

    • 0 avatar

      Leaving the valet with 500HP is hardly crippled. That’s still more than an SRT. I’d rather pull the 500HP back and leave the valet with 207. More than enough to park the car with.

    • 0 avatar

      With the valet key in place the engine ECM could limit the RPM’s to 1000 and keep the car from going higher than second gear or 25 mph. That’s an easy programming task.

      Manufacturers could also have a “Teenager/Guest/Employee Key” for ANY vehicle that resets the engine and transmission parameters on the vehicle to “boring and safe” mode.

      • 0 avatar

        In Lawyertopia, as son as a pricey car can not go the speed limit, an ambulance chaser will direct his buddy to ram it from the rear, get whiplash and sue all involved.

        • 0 avatar

          @ Stuki

          Rear ending another car for fun and profit is a bad strategy since the car doing the rear ending will be at fault; that is rules of the road 101.

          If your scenario made sense ambulance chasers would be rear ending senior citizens puttering along below the speed limit and trying to collect damages.

          • 0 avatar

            Senior citizens don’t generally have deep enough pockets to make it worth vile. And will get a jury’s sympathy if rear ended.

            Big, evil corporations that conspire with wealthy, polluting, gold chain wearing, small penis compensating Corvette drivers to selfishly make the underpaid jobs of valets less safe by preventing them from keeping up with the flow of traffic, OTOH…

  • avatar

    Wait, I realize that he’s technically Cadillac’s top executive, but that doesn’t really matter; did Johan de Nysschen approve of this?

    He has specifically stated that “pure haters” are his motivation and has also specifically warned that no one “should mess with [him]” in a very recent facebook (juvenile) rant:

    You Don’t Mess with the Johan

  • avatar

    This is why we can’t have nice things….Thanks a lot, liberals.

    The feature was not originally intended to secretly record conversations. It was intended to record yourself having fun. The valet spy feature that lets you view logs to see if your baby was mistreated is perfectly legal.

    • 0 avatar

      blaming liberals? Privacy is an issue that cuts across the political spectrum.

    • 0 avatar

      Liberals? You keep using that word. I don’t thin it means what you think it means.

      Ask Rand Paul (or any conservatives) what they think of warrant less wiretapping or clandestine eavesdropping. Most will (rightly) tell you that allowing such things opens the citizens of this country to government intrusion and further erosion of the 4th amendment.

      But if feel these are exclusively liberal concerns then I guess I am a liberal now.

      • 0 avatar

        It takes a liheral (in the US sense) to believe that laws, governments and lawsuits is the solution. Or, honestly, A solution. To anything.

        By creating a mishmash of rules banning SOME people from recording, you end up with a false sense of security. Which simply makes doing so, easier for all those who CAN record. Those of course being the usuals, NSA/CIA, cops, lawyers etc.

        Much cleaner if everyone simply knows that everyone else is recording everything everywhere, and takes suitable precautions. This also maximizes the incentives for bringing counter surveillance technologies to market. Something which would be genuinely useful.

      • 0 avatar

        I have to laugh. GM uses Onstar to track us and the use of our cars. Our cars track us and will rat us out to the government or our insurance company. Companies raid our credit report for non-credit issues. They force job applicants to open their locked Facebook accounts. Nobody complains. Now, when an individual wants to protect their property all of a sudden it is a violation of rights? Pretty pathetic. America is rapidly going down the toilet….

    • 0 avatar

      This boils down to state laws, and how they vary.

      In some states, both people that are party to any recording (audio or video) must grant consent. This is why customer service reps will tell you you’re being recorded or that the call is being recorded on telephone calls, or there will be a intermittent beep in the background during the conversation.

      In other states, only one party has to give consent (otherwise, merely the party doing the recording).

  • avatar

    So then is it also illegal in those states to have your Progressive “Snapshot” device activated? Flo might call for a spot check while the valet is trying to pull 1.00 gs on the parking garage ramps.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting point. With all the intrusions into every facet of our lives, I don’t see how monitoring your property to make sure someone isn’t using it to commit a criminal act that you would bear some liability for is a sane place to draw the line. This stinks.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe the issue is more with the audio recording, and less with the data recording.

  • avatar

    Having laws against secretly recording conversations is a very good thing. I don’t know what GM was thinking when they chose to record cabin audio as part of this feature. The good new is that it should be simple enough to fix. In the meantime, a simply note on the dash will work around the issue. Its the equivalent of “Your call may be recorded for quality control purposes”.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree with recording conversations is a bad thing. The whole thing shows another failure of GM’s so called legal staff. Either don’t record the conversations or have a screen letting the user know that they are being recorded and need to accept these terms to start the car. After all it works on the internet.

    • 0 avatar

      Having laws against anything is only a good thing if they apply to everyone, all the time, always. Otherwise, it’s just another way for the haves to discriminate against the have nots. But then again, what else is new in Dystopia…..

  • avatar

    I guess Chevy hasn’t “FOUND NEW ROADS” that lead to states where voice recording without consent is illegal.

    If legal was consulted about this feature and let it go to market, they should be fired.

    If the developers of the tech didn’t consult legal about this feature and let it go to market, THEY should be fired.

    Very bizarre oversight. These aren’t exactly new laws.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Seems to me that the burden should fall on the Corvette owner to notify the valet, or not use the recording function at all. GM is simply providing a recording device. Think of ALL the devices that are capable of audio recording – It’s not the manufacturer who has to be in compliance.

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