OnStar changes over privacy concernsSeptember 27th, 2011 By MICHAEL GORMLEY , Associated Press in Technology / Telecom
The OnStar automobile communication service used by 6 million Americans is changing its policies after privacy issues were raised over keeping former customers connected and collecting data on driving habits.
The service said Tuesday that customers' concerns prompted the change.
"We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers," OnStar President Linda Marshall said. "We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust for our more than 6 million customers."
"We regret any confusion or concern we may have caused," she said.
OnStar will no longer maintain its two-way connection with a customer even after the service is discontinued. Customers will also no longer have to take action to "opt out" of the data collection system once they drop the service.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said he was more than concerned when he heard of OnStar's policy last week. He called it "one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory" and called for a federal investigation into the business practice.
"OnStar's decision is the right one and sets a good precedent for the future," Schumer said Tuesday. "This announcement puts decisions about personal privacy back where they belong, in the hands of individuals ... I applaud their responsiveness to our concerns."
Under OnStar's new policy, former customers will be able choose to stay connected. OnStar says that could allow urgent information about disasters and recalls to be transmitted. It would also help planning for future services, according to the company.
While OnStar is collecting information on the driving habits of customers and ex-customers who choose to stay connected, it said it hasn't sold or shared any of the data with other companies and has no plans to do so.
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"OnStar changes over privacy concerns." September 27th, 2011. http://phys.org/news/2011-09-onstar-privacy.html