Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update: OnStar Does 180, Will Not Keep Link Active with Ex-Customers

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 3:12 PM

UPDATE: Sept. 27, 3 p.m.

OnStar said, "Our bad" today.

The General Motors-owned company reversed its decision to keep a data connection with customers once their OnStar service is canceled.

"We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers," OnStar president Linda Marshall said today.

ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 25, 9 a.m.

A privacy control debate has erupted over OnStar, the automobile communication service reportedly used by 6 million Americans.

OnStar, owned by General Motors, changed a long-standing policy last week by continuing its connection to ex-customers. The company said it wanted to keep communication active in case of emergencies or to alert drivers about warranty information or recalls.

But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said the change is a blatant invasion of privacy and is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to step in.

"OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory," said Schumer. "I urge OnStar to abandon [their efforts]."

But the company said its customers are fully informed on the new practice and the communication could be cut off at a customer's request. Although OnStar reserves the right to share or sell data on customers' speed, location or use of seat belts, a company spokesman said it hasn't done so and doesn't plan to.

OnStar charges about $199 a year for basic service and $299 a year for service that includes navigation aid.

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