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General Motors reverses course on OnStar privacy issue

September 27, 2011 | 11:23 am

OnStar-Corp-4C

General Motors Co. is changing course on how it will handle customers of its OnStar vehicle communication system once they opt out of the service.

The automaker said it will change its proposed “Terms and Conditions” policy and will not keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), said that OnStar's policy represented an invasion of privacy and he threatened a federal investigation.

“OnStar’s reversal of policy is good news. Consumer tracking, whether across town or across the Internet, should always be an opt-in. OnStar is setting an example that others should follow,” said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of auto information company Edmunds.com.

GM recently sent its OnStar customers e-mails that said as of Dec. 1, their service would change so that data from a customer vehicle would continue to be transmitted even after the service was canceled. Customers could sever the connection only if they actively asked for the link to be terminated.

“We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,” OnStar President Linda Marshall said. “This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers’ hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.” 

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-- Jerry Hirsch
Twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: OnStar logo. Credit: General Motors

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