OnStar Command Center in Detroit, Michigan (AP photo)
David Kravets reports for Wired, September 20, 2011:
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.
Adam Denison, a spokesman for the General Motors subsidiary, said […] “[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” […]
He said an example of how the data might be used would be for the Michigan Department of Transportation “to get a feel for traffic usage on a specific section of freeway.” The policy also allows the data to be used for marketing purposes by OnStar and vehicle manufacturers.
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.
UPDATE (Sept. 27, 2011):
In the face of a full-on revolt from users and pressure from Congress, Drudge Report and other media outlets, General Motors’ OnStar service just announced it was reversing plans to keep tracking vehicles of its 6 million subscribers if they cancel the service. Now once it’s off, it’s off.
H/t FOTM writer Dave 😀