NY Senator Accuses OnStar of Invading Customers’ Privacy
The OnStar automobile communication service used by 6 million Americans maintains its two-way connection with a customer even after the service is discontinued, while reserving the right to sell data from that connection.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says that’s a blatant invasion of privacy and he’s demanding that OnStar stop doing it. Schumer also wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
This is a new practice at OnStar. Until recently, the electronic tracking was turned off when a customer discontinued the service. Just last week, OnStar changed its policy and started keeping the connection up for ex-customers unless they asked that it be discontinued.
OnStar says no one’s privacy is invaded, because former customers can stop the two-way transmission at any time. OnStar says customers are thoroughly informed of this new practice when they buy the service, and if a customer doesn’t want their data collected after service is ended, the tracking is disconnected.
OnStar also says no one’s driving data or personal information has been shared or sold, and never will be.
Schumer says he’s not impressed. He says OnStar customers shouldn’t have to “opt out” of the tracking after they end the service, and he accuses OnStar of active deception of its customers.
A spokesman for OnStar admits the company could have done a better job of informing its customers of this practice, and they’ll try to do a better job in the future.