OnStar Reverses Privacy Policy, Won’t Track Non-Subscribers

Sep 28, 2011 10:07am
ap onstar privacy jp 110922 wblog OnStar Reverses Privacy Policy, Wont Track Non Subscribers

OnStar command center in Detroit. Carlos Osorio/AP Photo

OnStar, the service that connects to people’s cars by cell signal and can tell where they are if they have an accident, has now promised not to keep tracking people even if they cancel their subscriptions.

“We listened,” said OnStar’s president, Linda Marshall. “We hope to maintain the trust of our more than six million customers.”

OnStar fell into a public-relations black hole earlier this month by announcing some changes to its privacy policy. In a routine email to customers, it said it reserved the right to provide its traffic data to law enforcement, credit card processors and marketers. And it said that unless people asked, OnStar would keep tracking people’s cars even if they canceled the service.

That did not go over well. Several senators piled on, expressing “serious concern” for people’s privacy; Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

OnStar said it wasn’t actually selling or sharing its data and had no plans to do so, but that wasn’t good enough. It has now revised the policy, promising that if people cancel their OnStar subscriptions, the cellular connection with their cars will automatically be disconnected.

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

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