onstar/gps tracking

Just about everyone has seen or heard the commercials for the OnStar service by now. They really picked up the advertising in 2003. On the surface, it really looks like a wonderful service for your automobile and many car makers are including it in their newer models. However, a look at OnStar's privacy policy reveals the kinds of loopholes that remain and how many key questions are unanswered.

OnStar's policy states that it gathers personal information "to improve our services," and it will never sell customer information. But the company also states that it accepts no responsibility for "accidental or inadvertent disclosure" of customer information and it reserves the right to change its policies "as business needs require." Interesting.

GPS tracking is a whole other related issue that will be covered here soon. Until then, check out the video clip to the right for a 2 minute news segment about how rental cars are now being tracked and traced using GPS technology.


Big Brother on Board

"Would it surprise you to find out that the FBI might be able to monitor private conversations in your car? A recent court case revealed that the FBI used the popular OnStar system to do just that. GM cars equipped with OnStar are supposed to be the leading edge of safety and technology. OnStar has run a recent blitz of commercials citing helpless motorists calling in with every type of emergency, from a heart attack to locking the keys inside the car. In the advertising world, OnStar reacts quickly by sending help or even unlocking the car. However, buried deep inside the OnStar system is a feature few suspected - the ability to eavesdrop on unsuspecting motorists."


PRIVACY: is Onstar going too far?

How GPS Technology Could Violate Your Privacy

Black boxes are already in automobiles, and your car may have one

One of the best-kept secrets in the auto industry is that many late-model GM cars now have electronic gizmos installed along with their airbags to record data when a car crashes. The device, much like the black box on an airplane, is known in the trade as a Sensing & Diagnostic Module (SDM), a simple version of which was first installed in the 1994 model year.

Better slow down: Your car's 'black box' is watching you