OnStar user tracking scheme raises the ire of three US Senators

Sep 26, 2011
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A few days back OnStar was in the news when it notified its customer base that it would be collecting data on their locations and other data and that it was reserving the right to share that data with anyone for any reason including marketing. The part that really angered people is that OnStar was saying that it would continue to track user movements even after they cancel the OnStar account. OnStar later said that it would warn the user when cancelling that they would be tracking their location.

OnStar later came back with an announcement that the user could opt out of the tracking service. The mere thought of users being tracked after cancelling an account was enough to make three US Senators angry enough to call on the FCC to investigate. Two of the Senators are Al Franken (D-MN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) who called the tracking of users a violation of basic principles of privacy and fairness.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) raised objections of his own in a letter that he wrote to the FCC calling the new policy by OnStar, "one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory." Apparently one of the sticking points for the Senators is that the opt out of tracking for the customers cancelling can only be done over the phone. There is apparently no other way to stop them from tracking users and sharing that data for whatever reason they want. The other worry from the Senators is how difficult it is to anonymize the user with this sort of data.

[via ArsTechnica]


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