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OnStar's Reassurance: We Respect Your Privacy. Really, We Do

 
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It's often the way with the modern world: The products and services we use aren't just products and services any more - they're experiences.

Where once you used to use a car to get from A to B with the occasional trip via C, now you can be as connected to your life on the internet as you are with your smartphone or home PC.

The downside of this is that a lot more of your personal information is constantly in transit, whether paying for stuff when you're out and about or just driving around with a GPS signal trapping you. And with a recent change to GM's OnStar terms of service agreement (TOS), some feel the service has crossed the line with the information it can access and share.

Having watched the debacle unfold throughout the day, we can confirm a few things.

OnStar has access to more information

The new terms of service mean that OnStar now has the right to record your location, speed, safety belt usage, whether the car is running or not and several other data points about your car and how you're using it. Great for making best use of OnStar's information, traffic and rescue functions, not so great if you're an avid believer that George Orwell's 1984 is coming true.

OnStar can't eavesdrop

Worried that OnStar can listen in to conversations in your vehicle whenever they like? Don't, because they can't. The only time they'll hear what's going on in the car is if they're in contact with you.

OnStar can share your data with third parties

...But only "non personal" data. A video released by OnStar in response to the uproar surrounding the new TOS confirms that OnStar will not - and have no plans to - sell personalized data about customers to third parties. However, OnStar sees it as "beneficial for customers" to share anonymous data from time to time.

You can opt out

If you don't like any of this, you are of course free to opt out of OnStar's services, though this does mean you lose all the benefits of OnStar, as well as the more negative aspects.

Still worried? You have a few options. First, check out the video released by OnStar below, clarifying their position:



If that's not good enough, you can contact Communications VP at OnStar, Vijay Iyer, by hitting him up on Twitter to ask any questions you may have. He's probably quite busy at the moment but he seems to be doing his best to reply, so it's worth trying! You can find him by clicking @V_I_J_A_Y

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