Faced with growing political pressure and consumer displeasure, OnStar has announced that it will be reversing the proposed changes to its Terms and Conditions.
Canceling the OnStar service will now be sufficient to sever the data connection between a customer vehicle and the OnStar Service itself, with no additional opt-outs required. Despite assurances that customer data would remain private, New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate if the proposed OnStar changes were even legal.
In a video to members, OnStar president Linda Marshall explained that the proposed changes “did not satisfy our subscribers,” and that OnStar is “leaving the decision (to sever communications with OnStar) in our customers’ hands.” Marshall hoped that OnStar could maintain the trust of its 6 million subscribers, and regretted the confusion and concern caused by the proposed changes.
While critics have attached a Big-Brotheresque significance to the proposed changes (which would have allowed OnStar to continue collecting vehicle data even after the OnStar service was terminated), OnStar insists that maintaining the data connection would have been for the customer’s benefit. Urgent information on natural disasters, or even vehicle specific recalls, could have been easily distributed to even non-subscribing OnStar equipped vehicles.
OnStar is considering a feature that would allow those who no longer subscribe to opt-in for critical information updates, but will give these customers the ability to determine what else the collected data is used for.