×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

OnStar Terms and Conditions Update Raises Privacy Concerns

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-don't-need-this-kind-of-help dept.

Privacy 185

PainMeds writes "An article by author Jonathan Zdziarski reveals that OnStar has recently updated their terms and conditions to allow the company to sell customer GPS coordinates, vehicle speed, and other information to third party marketers and analytics companies, where it could be used for a number of nefarious purposes. He says, 'To add insult to a slap in the face, the company insists they will continue collecting and selling this personal information even after you cancel your service, unless you specifically shut down the data connection to the vehicle after canceling. ... It sounds as though OnStar is poising part of their analytics department to be purchased by a large data warehousing company, such as a Google, or perhaps even an Apple. Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

185 comments

Oh please... (1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463526)

It sounds as though OnStar is poising part of their analytics department to be purchased by a large data warehousing company, such as a Google, or perhaps even an Apple.

Nothing like wild baseless speculation that trashes Slashdot's hated mega-corporation du jour...

Anyway, why would they sell such a huge profit center?

Re:Oh please... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463544)

Yeah.....Hell, I bet they'll make a fortune selling the information to your car insurance's marketing department so that they'll know how to target you to sell you more insurance and raise your premium.

The intent is clear (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463806)

The fact that OnStar took pains to alter their ToS in this specific fashion means that they're clearly thinking about it and perhaps even planning to do it. The INTENT is clearly stated, and intent is all that matters. Since OnStar intends to make such a thing legally and technically feasible, they can't be trusted NOT to do it.

Re:The intent is clear (0)

Guidii (686867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464104)

Agree with parent. OnStar is planning to lever this information to their advantage.
Disagree with original poster. Why would you suggest that Apple or Google would be the purchasers?

Re:The intent is clear (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464516)

I guess I didn't make myself clear:

The key to my comment is the quote that OnStar might sell the division to Google or Apple.

I think it's too much of a money maker for OnStar to sell to Google or Apple. They will keep it as a service and rake in the cash-ola.

Re:The intent is clear (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464708)

Your guess is right; that isn't what I thought you meant. I'm still glad I got to make the point I did, just perhaps not in reply to yours....

Re:The intent is clear (3, Insightful)

the CIA mind-control (2466322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464548)

Still, at least OnStar is undertaking this for good, clean, capitalistic profit motives, and not for any conceivable usage in oppression and repression. There is no chance that the government would ever consider abusing these kind of commercial access arrangements to work around any theoretical constitutional limitations on tracking the citizens we own. There is nothing to fear.

Re:The intent is clear (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464718)

Does that hurt? I bet it would if you're one of those people with a pointy tongue. :-)

Re:Oh please... (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463880)

Nothing like wild baseless speculation that trashes Slashdot's hated mega-corporation du jour...

You don't think your insurance company would buy a record of your driving habits? Including what roads you traveled on and what speed you were going? Seriously? You really don't think they'd be interested in that information? I'm not being paranoid. You're being naive.

Re:Oh please... (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464162)

I think his comment was less about the idea of them selling the _data_ to your insurance company and more about the idea of them selling _their data processing group_ to your insurance company.

Re:Oh please... (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464016)

Lesbian robots fondle their "George Washingtons", until a massive cave-in threatens existence for the mole-people. Their exodus in a Piper Cub is now imminent. Oh! Who will be left to moisturize?

Re:Oh please... (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464062)

I used to work in the IT end of the insurance industry, and believe me, data is their bread and butter. Insurance companies would love to have something like this.

I also have to agree with the other posters: as we have seen in recent years with TOS from Facebook, Google and others, if it's in there, they're probably going to do it. They don't hire lawyers to put that stuff in there for no reason... it isn't worded in such a way that it would really cover their asses for any liability, if they DON'T do it. So then... why else is it there?

Third, "anonymized" data, as we know very well by now, does not guarantee privacy. Especially location data. If you know where somebody lives, it should be easy to follow their movements with that data, anonymized or not.

And finally: after all these years, I get to say "I told you so" to the people who got OnStar. After all, it's not as though this wasn't foreseen by a lot of people.

Hmm... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463532)

"they will continue collecting and selling this personal information even after you cancel your service"

I wish I were a class-action lawyer, because this is retirement material. I understand that GM has money again.

Re:Hmm... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463644)

Time to get a screwdriver and cut out the cancer that OnStar has become. In one policy change, they remove all white-knight status and become boorish, privacy robbing satans. Good Job, OnStar. Hope that wears well on ya.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

TheGothicGuardian (1138155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463744)

Time to get a screwdriver and cut out the cancer that OnStar has become.

I believe you can just pull a dedicated fuse, actually.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464686)

That's what they want you to think.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464966)

Indeed - what point would be the point of OnStar if a carjacker yanked a fuse so the vehicle couldnt be remotely shut down?
Maybe the fuse covers hardware like a GPS beacon, but I always assumed that the bulk of OnStar circuitry was integrated into the ECU.

And? (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463536)

Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?

Of course I don't. I don't own a vehicle that has the ability to be shut off remotely either, because I don't trust a company or the systems with something that important. I would not trust the electric company with my refrigerator either. The very fact the control exists with a 3rd party is unacceptable.

If you are worried about being tracked, OnStar is the least of your concerns. It applies to a single source of data that is not always with you.

Anybody that really cares about this should wonder what data is being collected with your smart phones, etc. Verizon can track you better than OnStar ever could.

All of your devices with their own dedicated data connections also track you far better. Sprint HotSpot? Those things can track you just like a cell phone too.

The only thing surprising about this is that OnStar tried slipping it into the TOS, except just selling the data anyways with some legal sleight of hand.

Re:And? (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463652)

I would not trust the electric company with my refrigerator either.

I hate to break it to you, but unless you generate your own power, the electric company can still shut off your refrigerator.

Re:And? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463780)

And some of them are royal dicks about it too. When I moved out to BFE I droped 500 bucks down on a 550$ deposit (hey I was moving and they offered to put it on my next bill cause I was a little short at that moment) the day the payment was due 7 AM and it took 2 days to restore + a 50 dollar fee

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463836)

"When I moved out to BFE"

What state is Butt Fuck Extreme in?

Re:And? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463788)

Uhhhhhh... okay.

1) The electric company cannot shut off my refrigerator. They can only shut off *everything* in my house. It is a blunt dull instrument, not a precision tool.
2) I was referring to an extension of the levels of control that electric companies are trying to do right now, most notably with air conditioning. That does not have to be limited to that with a smart grid, and smart monitors/outlets in the house.

The electric company would be far less nefarious of course. Ostensibly, it is to rate throttle, prevent brownouts, and increase efficiency. All good green initiatives if you want to cooperate. I would not give them control over any of it, because I don't trust them to do it correctly. That, and at any one time, a refrigerator probably has at least $75 worth of food in it. Too risky. My beer might get warm.

Re:And? (1)

black6host (469985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464306)

The electric company would be far less nefarious of course. Ostensibly, it is to rate throttle, prevent brownouts, and increase efficiency. All good green initiatives if you want to cooperate. I would not give them control over any of it, because I don't trust them to do it correctly. That, and at any one time, a refrigerator probably has at least $75 worth of food in it. Too risky. My beer might get warm.

I will most definitely agree with your sentiment about warm beer :) However, we participated in such a program in Florida and it worked well. No warm beer. No A/C not running (and it always needs to in all but a few months) We felt no impact at all. What we did experience was a decrease in our electric bill, albeit not a large one. It was a good trade off in my opinion. I think the targeted appliance was the hot water heater. And having a hot shower was not a problem.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464880)

> What we did experience was a decrease in our electric bill

I'll pick on you but this is becoming more common.

It is not an electric bill but an electricity bill.

Electric is an adjective meaning "relies on electricity". Look, an electric car!

You don't call your water bill a wet bill.

Re:And? (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463830)

But, and this is the OP's point, the electric company is the equivalent of a "common carrier": It can shut off power to *all* of your stuff, or none. It can't choose to shut off power to X or Y, which it *could* with a smart control.

Re:And? (0)

eobanb (823187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463670)

I would not trust the electric company with my refrigerator either

I hate to break it to you, but...

Re:And? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463796)

Copy and paste.. .... and...

Uhhhhhh... okay.

1) The electric company cannot shut off my refrigerator. They can only shut off *everything* in my house. It is a blunt dull instrument, not a precision tool.
2) I was referring to an extension of the levels of control that electric companies are trying to do right now, most notably with air conditioning. That does not have to be limited to that with a smart grid, and smart monitors/outlets in the house.

The electric company would be far less nefarious of course. Ostensibly, it is to rate throttle, prevent brownouts, and increase efficiency. All good green initiatives if you want to cooperate. I would not give them control over any of it, because I don't trust them to do it correctly. That, and at any one time, a refrigerator probably has at least $75 worth of food in it. Too risky. My beer might get warm.

Traffic law situation makes it worse (1)

Uksi (68751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463768)

Verizon/AT&T probably do not keep historical data, even if they can pinpoint my location at law enforcement's request.

The problem is that we have traffic laws with unrealistic speed limits in this country, towns that will raise revenue through ticket writing and red light cameras, all now with access to your OnStar data without your consent or a warrant. Drivers that go with the flow of traffic are safer due to a smaller speed differential--but your insurance company may be glad to force you to do 65 on a road designed for 75mph in the 70's (MassPike) or 55 on a newly widened 3-lane widely-divided highway (rt 3 Greater Boston).

towns shorten yellow lights to get more red light tickets--increase in rear-end accidents be damned. Wouldn't it be nice to corroborate that data with the onstar gps log?

Re:Traffic law situation makes it worse (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463876)

Verizon/AT&T probably do not keep historical data, even if they can pinpoint my location at law enforcement's request.

There was a posted article about this awhile ago. Verizon most certainly does keep historical data. Law enforcement was trying to get access to it without a warrant for a specific ~150 day period. They did not even specify what period it was, implying that Verizon has access to even longer historical logs than we thought, or is even implied.

If Verizon did not maintain the data why:

1) Was law enforcement requesting it?
2) Why did Verizon not immediately state that compliance was impossible since they did not possess it?
3) That articles about either 1 or 2 have not been making the rounds yet?
4) The original article did not already contain Verizon's response to the court?

Re:Traffic law situation makes it worse (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464606)

1) Fishing Expedition
2) Proprietary Company Information (Trade Secret)
3) Non-Story
4) No Response Needed.

Not saying your paranoia is not warranted, just offering a completely legitimate response. If I were VZ, I wouldn't respond one way or another. I wouldn't even HINT what company policy is on something like this. I'd let the Lawyers battle it out in Court, that is what Courts are for.

Re:And? (3, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464114)

It gets worse.

On at least one occasion, OnStar allowed police to secretly listen in to a car's cabin in order to gather evidence for a drug conviction. Start here [thetruthaboutcars.com] .

Privacy Concerns?! (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463538)

OnStar is just now raising privacy concerns?

Re:Privacy Concerns?! (1)

IMightB (533307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463692)

No kidding, if you didn't see this one coming you're either extremely naive or been sticking your head in the sand intentionally.

Re:Privacy Concerns?! (3, Interesting)

alcourt (198386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463778)

Last time I shopped for a car, I told the dealer that disabling the interface so it couldn't be activated remotely was a deal breaker. Manager came over and on a demo car showed how in two minutes they could remove the antenna and attach a cosmetic cover where the antenna used to be. That was about four years ago. Even then, it was known that the service was being activated to monitor position without permission of the owner.

Re:Privacy Concerns?! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464538)

I went into a GM dealer and asked about this. You can no longer pull the antenna (it's integrated into some non-removable component), nor can you disable the onstar computer, as it is tightly integrated into the drive train computer.

Re:Privacy Concerns?! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463856)

OnStar is just now raising privacy concerns?

OnStar has always been just short of the imaginary-cia-mind-control-chips in terms of potential privacy concerns. Now they've gone and updated their privacy policy to read, essentially, "We own you, sucker." it becomes only reasonable to suspect the actualization of those concerns.

It's not like some privacy policy was ever likely worth the shrinkwrap it was printed on; particularly if feds are sniffing around; but you pretty much have to assume the worst when somebody goes and publicly guts such a toothless instrument...

Re:Privacy Concerns?! (1)

rta (559125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464254)

This is the thread i'm "voting" in. OnStar was ALWAYS creepy. If there was ever any doubt then the commercial a few years ago about their remote disable that shut down the "stolen" SUV on the highway should have struck fear into the heart of any red-blooded nerd.

One simply solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463548)

Buy a car without OnStar. My Touareg doesn't have it.

Google's size blinds some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463564)

to the fact that they are one of the least evil companies out there. Yes, they're big. But they always treat their customers fairly. When they make a mistake, they come clean quickly. I highly doubt they would buy thus company.

Arguments that they are evil always boils down to pure speculation or their size.

Apple, on the other hand regularly screws everyone over and then get applauded for it because they're "hip".

Uh, duh (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463576)

AT&T violates its customers privacy

AT&T is a telecommunications company

Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate.

OnStar is a telecommunications company

Therefore, OnStar violates its customers privacy

Disconnecting ? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463584)

Can you even disconnect it from your car if it comes built in, without paying someone at the least ( or rendering parts of your car non operational at worst )?

Re:Disconnecting ? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463704)

I am no expert but as I understand it no, best you can do is opt out and forget its transmitting 24/7

Re:Disconnecting ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463724)

I am no expert but as I understand it no, best you can do is opt out and forget its transmitting 24/7

You can take it out/disconnect it. They say to get the dealer to do it because in some vehicles it's buried in the dash.

Re:Disconnecting ? (2)

alcourt (198386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463808)

Depends on the model. At least some models (Saturn before they were killed for example), there is an external antenna. While it may not be obvious, without significant tools, the antenna can be readily removed. The portion in the dash I was told was the dedicated fuse/circuit breaker. The reason to go to the dealer was to get the cosmetic cover to go over where the antenna was.

Re:Disconnecting ? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463862)

yea when there is a will there is a way in any situation, when I looked at one years ago it was before the whole "our mp3 player plugs into the can bus so it can cause a virus on your fuel injection and breaking system" days so it was possible, but I have no idea today.

At the time I didn't probe too deep, the stupid GM cost more, had less safety features, less gas mileage, less horsepower, less options than the Toyota I ended up getting for my wife... it was just one more nuisance to remove that cost a pile of money for some flunky to unplug a molex connector. Not to mention the thing ran like a bench grinder with a pair of scissors jammed in it and creaked like some ripoff rubbermaid tub in a tumble dryer just by shifting my weight (I like to lean on the door panel a little since Im a lefty and thats just the way I lean while sitting comfortably).

Re:Disconnecting ? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463766)

Procedures vary, but a quick Google suggests various ways to turn OnStar off for numerous vehicles (as simple as pulling a fuse, as complicated as tracking down the OnStar module and disconnecting all the wires). I have an OnStar vehicle, but it was never updated from analog cellular (which no longer exists), so it's moot in my case.

Re:Disconnecting ? (1)

mr_walrus (410770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464272)

are you *sure* no passive analog equipment is operational?... (donning foil hat...)

Re:Disconnecting ? (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464514)

In my area I can be sure, because I have seen the inside of the cell towers where it was removed from and have seen the old units in the large bin out back of the main telco warehouse with my own eyes...

Privacy a la Yahoo's of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463638)

There is no privacy, until it's legislated... get over it!

Alexis d' Toqueville was right when he surmised that everything in the U.S. style democracy would ultimately become a matter of legislation. I just wish we had an electorate that had the influence commanded by the moneyed interests of Mitt Romney's corporate people, so that when issues like this came up I saw news coverage with more detail than the trivial treatment given to privacy and security issues surrounding tracking and behavior analysis. I'm so tired of hearing about "innovation" or about how regulation is "too cumbersome" and how it "costs jobs!"

As if there's a plethora of corporate execs dreaming up better ways to put more people to work with all the offshored money that's been amassed in corporate tax dodges since the last tax holiday they were gifted by Congress.

The answer is simple... (1)

thegreatbob (693104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463656)

Submitter asks: "Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?"

No.

If you don't use it, just cut the antenna; if you do use it, despite knowing this, you have basically rendered any future complaint you have pointless, since you've already told them it's okay to do this.

Why the fuck would you buy GM anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463676)

They cost more than a high end luxury car and they have less quality and features than a fucking KIA, get a ford, get a dodge I wouldnt wipe my ass with a GM

Re:Why the fuck would you buy GM anyway (1)

thegreatbob (693104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463772)

Like every other manufacturer, they have good and bad products... Late 90's Chevrolet Lumina/Monte Carlo was a great car (aside from some engine gasket defects)... Hummer H2? You all are welcome to your own opinions, but I'm not a fan... Hyundai/KIA products are definitely competitive these days though...

http://www.google.com/search?q=burning+money&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1400&bih=921 [google.com]

Re:Why the fuck would you buy GM anyway (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463936)

True enough on that. I'm quite happy with my saturn. Most Canadians that own one are, though oddly most Americans who own one are hit or miss. I could never figure out why. We love them here. If they hadn't closed them down, or sold them off to well shit Penske, or Bombardier or anyone like that I would have kept buying them, even kept buying GM.

But the second they killed the line you ran across a lot of hardcore saturn folks who swore they would never buy another GM product even if hell froze over and they were the only thing keeping them from death and life. Of course GM has come out with some amazing engines too. The 3800 series is probably the most famous of the modern era, and those are still going strong even will a million miles on them.

Re:Why the fuck would you buy GM anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464152)

they have a wonky transmission that lets you tow them without modification and happens to be ok in traction as a side effect

next your going to tell me that south American rebels love toyota's and therefore that old memory is a justification of today

Re:Why the fuck would you buy GM anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464288)

so the best you can come up with is the same Y car with minor body differences from over a decade ago with retard problems (I think we mastered gaskets before the late 1990's)

Case proven

Old problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463694)

http://www.google.com/search?&q=how+to+disable+onstar

Fuck you onstar. I should have gotten a rebate for having your crap installed. Not paid more...

... such as Google, or perhaps even Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463710)

Or perhaps even the federal government under a martial law situation.

Open Source Project (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463736)

Has anyone hacked their car to spoof OnStar packets and send them assloads of chaff? I don't see anywhere in the contract where it says you can't send them any GPS coordinates you want. Success will be measured by the number of OnStar-equipped vehicles shown to be commuting across the Atlantic Ocean on a regular basis. Why yes, I believe my vehicle is currently somewhere in Afghanistan. The bloke said he had lots of important packages he needed to deliver. He seems like a nice guy and always returns it when he's done doing whatever he does with it. Even rolls back the odometer for me. Why do you ask?

Re:Open Source Project (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463790)

Oh now that would be sweet if you did it right. How about messing with the altitude coordinate.
  I can just imagine the Onstar tech, "Sir, I show you at... WTF!?!?! FOURTEEN THOUSAND FEET!!!! errr.....".

Re:Open Source Project (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463892)

At least in some models, there's an audio feed back to the sinister OnStar lair to play with, as well... You could splice virtually anything in instead of the in-vehicle mic.

Duh (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463820)

Of course this is the reason that the US gov't required GM to make OnStar standard equipment as part of the auto industry bailouts. Anyone who didn't see this coming deserves to be tagged and tracked like the sheeple they are.

It's already being done (4, Interesting)

dwreid (966865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463840)

I just received a notice from State Farm Insurance that if I allow them to collect OnStar data I "MIGHT" get a discount on my insurance. Uhhh... yeah... I'll be sure to do that. (NOT) I'm fairly certain that this is only the tip of the iceberg. How long before the car automatically calls the police when you exceed the speed limit?

Re:It's already being done (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464002)

That won't happen actually. If there was ever full proof speeding detection, people would stop speeding, costing the government revenue. Any operational speeding detection system will miss 90% of the occurences so that people keep speeding and paying occasional tickets.

Re:It's already being done (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464160)

Progressive Insurance is busy flogging their "Snapshot" [progressive.com] system, which is exactly that. They give you a tracking device, and you put it in your car, and if you are the "good" driver you say that you are you get a discount in your insurance. I'd love to see the TOS on that baby.

Re:It's already being done (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464236)

Does anyone know exactly what data the Snapshot collects?

I can see it tracking vehicle speed, for instance - but it can't tell whether I took that offramp at 40 MPH normally, or sliding sideways with the rear tyres smoking. And unless it has an accurate GPS, it can't tell if I was doing 65 on the interstate, or in a school zone.

Re:It's already being done (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464790)

Depends on what they tap into. There's a lot of data available from a simple ODBII connection. Speed, throttle position, manifold pressure, turbo/supercharger boost, water temp, air intake temp, battery voltage, fuel consumption rate, fuel pressure, engine load, etc. And a GPS can easily locate you with sufficient precision to determine whether you were on an interstate or a school zone. They can also throw in an accelerometer to figure out that "drifting" thing when combined with the other data.

Re:It's already being done (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464190)

The obvious next step is that you cannot have car insurance without some kind of automatic data collection. It won't be the law that requires this, but the corporations that now own you. An you can just change insurance plans if you don't like it, but either you will not be able to find an alternative, or the replacement will be horribly expensive and useless. (Just see how health insurance works for and example.) And without car insurance you can't drive in many states.

You want to see how far this can go? In California you now have to give health insurance companies direct access to your bank account or they will cancel your policy. No credit card payments allowed.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20110920,0,2211923.column [latimes.com]

It wasn't doomsday. It was just an example of a major corporation turning the screws on a customer to get what it wanted.

In this case, what it wanted was access to Kreuzhage's checking account, rather than her credit card account.

Anthem announced a few months ago that it planned to stop allowing members to automatically pay their bills by credit card. For those still wanting to use plastic, they could call a service rep each month and give their card number over the phone, although this would entail a $15 "convenience fee."

...

Sure, you can still pay by credit card. But you have to remember to call in every month to do so. If you forget, your coverage can disappear.

Kreuzhage, for one, has learned her lesson. She's forked over the checking account number that Anthem wanted all along and now approaches her health insurance with a renewed sense of humility.

"If this is how they treat me when things are perfect, when I file no claims, how are they going to treat me if I ever have a serious medical problem?" Kreuzhage asked.

And big companies never make billing mistakes. Even in those rare occasions when they do, it's always fixed right away. So, for example, if due to a billing error they clean out your account and you miss insurance payments or mortgage payments they'll fix everything like it never happened. And I have some major bridges in New York and San Francisco that I can sell you real cheap.

Re:It's already being done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464270)

How long before "How to spoof your GPS tracking device." appears as a HOWTO on Hack a Day?

who wants this information? (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463854)

My real question in all of this is, Who is asking for this information? It seems to me, that time and time again, Company X or Company Y updates its TOS, or has some flaw in software that reveals that they are gathering personal information, for 'sale to third parties' or the slightly less unsettling 'Company X will in no way make this information available to third parties'.
On the surface, the claim is that it is to provide a better service down the road, or to provide more targeted ad's or in some way improve the customer experience in some bizarre and personal way.
The real problem is, Time and time again when this comes out, We, the Customers, seem to resoundingly land on the side of 'don't watch me!' which begs the question: 'What market research idiot keeps thinking this is a good idea?'
The overwhelming sense i get from public response to this sort of thing is that we are not interested in targeted ad's, we do not want the commercials on our TV to say our names, and we don't want our driving directions to take us past some dry cleaners, just because we googled it last week. Now, I'm not an idiot, and realize that most companies will ignore their customers as long as possible, as long as they still make a profit, but you have to expect there to be some kind of limit, where someone finally steps back and says 'holy shit, people are going to HATE this!'

Re:who wants this information? (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463948)

My stepfather and I would get into discussions sometimes touching on privacy. His viewpoint is basically "if you're not breaking the law, what do you have to worry about?". I suspect this viewpoint and the natural tendency for humans to be lazy nowadays are allowing companies to get away with this. There is also the feeling that customers don't really have an option as far as these things go. I pointed out the PSN ToS change to my father, who owns a PS3. His response was "we sign away our lives everyday".

The reality of the situation is that consumers, as a group, are too widely disparate and largely separated from each other, even with the increasingly connected world we live in. And so many of them are outright ignorant of the issues, both potential and actual, surrounding corporations, privacy, and legal rights that simple sleights of hand allow for this stuff to keep happening. It isn't enough to be mad as hell over this. We have to get everyone else as mad as hell over this. And unless you're an influential politician or own a large media chain, that's a tall order.

Re:who wants this information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464216)

You get your Freedom Pat with complementary whole body x-rays at the airport. There are lots of people in media, including large media, that tried to "get us mad as hell over this". What happened? And you expect people will suddenly care over some GPS in a car?? If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Re:who wants this information? (2)

l0kl1n (1670272) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464276)

His viewpoint is basically "if you're not breaking the law, what do you have to worry about?"

People who say this always seem to forget that, one day, there might be laws that are well worth breaking; that in order to keep your humanity, you will have to break.

Just to rifle through the last few months of news: what if you were Libyan under Gaddafi or Egyptian under Mubarak? I would be glad, were I in that situation, not to have a fucking device in my car reporting my whereabouts in a governmentally accessible manner.

I think the whole idea of protecting rights is to do so for the future, not necessarily for the present.

Re:who wants this information? (3, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464266)

My real question in all of this is, Who is asking for this information?

Google would like to know where the traffic jams are. Stores would like to know who drives by and does not stop. Your insurance company would like to know how fast you are driving. The police would like to know who was driving away from the bar at closing time. And your wife's divorce lawyer would like to know where you were late Tuesday night.

Re:who wants this information? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464484)

There's a fundamental concept you're missing here: What we (as consumers) /don't want/ and what is /effective at getting us to buy things/ are usually one in the same. Targeted ads? Web tracking? Data-mining our credit cards? GPS logging? No one wants any of that done to them. Yet /all/ of it turns out to be pretty effective at enhancing the ability of a company to get you to buy something. That's why market research idiots keep thinking it's a good idea--it /is/ a good idea, from a marketing/business standpoint. Sure, you lose a few people who already didn't like the product/service, but you often gain a lot more sales in the exchange. I mean, be honest--how many people do you really see ditching OnStar because of this? Shit, how many people do you even think will find out about the TOS change? Vanishingly few, that's how many.

Companies do this because at the end of the day it's profitable for them to do so, and they like profits better than they like people. End of story.

This has to stop or... (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463928)

...we as consumers need an updated and ironclad consumer protection act, period. These companies have us over a barrel and there is virtually nothing we can do about it. IP tracking, cell phone records, OnStar tracking and marketing of consumer data where will it stop? More importantly, if it doesn't stop which is a very real likelyhood, where will it lead? Technology finally, if it hasn't already, is showing it's ugly face.

Looks like someone is itching for a lawsuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463950)

The invasion of privacy this entails is staggering. As is stated in the article, this "anonymous" data is not anonymous when the vehicle is sitting at your house, coming to and from your house, and so on. But, this may not be actionable -- just don't agree to the new agreement.

          HOWEVER, I see no possible way they can possibly say they have the right to CONTINUE collecting information when you have terminated services with them. That is absolutely unconscionable and I see a big fat lawsuit coming about from this. I also bet they (either accidentally or "accidentally") end up collecting from people who have terminated service already, perhaps for years. This is an even bigger big fat lawsuit.

First the Government takes over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37463984)

Then the government tracks you...how long before that telemetry data is used to send you a speeding ticket? All in the name of reduced government costs / increased revenue. Then again they have been talking about taxing vehicle use by the mile, this would certainly be an effective way to do so...

They can also bug your car (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464090)

See for example: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1029_3-5109435.html [cnet.com]

Note the title was a bit misleading, the company was able to deny the FBI 's request, because doing the bugging broke the service the customer was paying for. You can be pretty sure that problem has been fixed by now.

Now You Know Why GM was bailed out. (-1, Troll)

Greeneyeshade (2466246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464202)

The Feds specifically Obama wanted this technology. You can be tracked after you are reported on Attackwatch.com

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464218)

In other news, child born with birthmark in the shape of barcode.
OnStar executives too busy twirling moustache to comment.

Forget that (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464232)

Sorry but if a car or any vehicle has this or something like it built into it,I won't buy it. I can find my own way,thank you for nothing.End of story

I'd rather die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464376)

Even if the service was free.

Legislation to counter this (2)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464402)

From http://wnd.ha-hosting.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=346997 [ha-hosting.com]

"Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, have introduced the truly patriotic Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, supported by the ACLU, that "requires the government to show probable cause and get a warrant before acquiring the geolocational information of a U.S. person."

This would apply, among other forms of such tracking, to cell phones. It would also require telecommunications companies (including providers of cell phones) to get our consent to collect data from locations where we use them. Where do we go with cell phones in our ears? These companies, without telling us, already convey this location information to the FBI without our knowing we're being tracked as we talk. "

Re:Legislation to counter this (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464910)

show probable cause and get a warrant

Police: "He was breathing."

Judge: "Approved!"

cheap men shoes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464842)

cheap discount china personalize custom shoes sneakers trainers wholesaler cheap men shoes [bestwholesalereplica.com] outlet factory urban clothing,Hip Hop Clothes,urban wear distributor Cheap discount custom nike jordan prada gucci louis vuitton chanel lacoste bape sta burberry Ugg boots,sneakers trainers china online store.buy & sell all the famous wholesaler cheap ladies clothing wholesaler best sport jerseys [bestwholesalereplica.com] fashion designer clothes & accessories online as Abercrombie & Fitch,ed hardy,coogi,Gino Green Global,Artful Dodger,Christian Audigier,Kidrobot & lots of more.Submit your clothing commercial or store FREE! All types of wholesaler best kid clothing [bestwholesalereplica.com] clothesas hats,belts, gloves, jackets, shirts,suits,shoes,sandals, boots,ties,skirts, dresses, denims, hoodies scarves, sun shades,bags,wallets wholesaler cheap men shoes watches of any brand name.Just start selling online shop at wholesaler cheap men clothing cheapest cost.

Looks like they took a lesson from Tom Tom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37464848)

Looks like they took a lesson from Tom Tom and added the overly american gravy train to take this navigation data collection to the next, american-sized level.

No way (2)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37465054)

Do you trust such companies with unfettered access to the entire GPS history of your vehicle?

No, I trust nobody with something like that.

Not only are they making profit from something deeply private, but the data can easily be abused in a number of ways. It might be that you happened to be in an area where something bad happened, and right away you're a suspect just because you were in the area. You stand out because someone can document that you were there. They're not documenting that you did something wrong but the very thing that you were there, makes you a suspect.in particular compared to others who were also there but whose location wasn't documented.

We already see a similar issue with DNA profiles. The initial (quick) profile only uses a handful markers and they're not all that unique. A typical crime scene sample will yield dozens of partial matches, also due to it like being slightly contaminated which lowers the match probability. You then have to seek out all the partial matches and review them, probably interview them and perhaps detain one or two. And you still have the very likely possibility that the perpetrator isn't in the register at all.

After a few weeks the full profile is available and you'll most likely either have the perpetrator or realize that you don't. Now, having spent weeks in jail, suspected of some evil crime, you might get completely exonerated and probably financially compensated, but you'll carry that branding of 'criminal' forever, and that can never be removed. Usually there's nothing to suspect you other than the DNA matching, but DNA is such a strong piece of evidence that it in itself usually is enough to get you thrown in jail.

Traffic tickets (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37465404)

Could this data be purchased by police departments to issue speeding tickets? Is there any legal impediment to using this data by a government entity for any purpose? If they can use it for enforcement of speed limits it seems like it would be a gold mine for any municipality that had an interstate passing through it. OnStar could even ask for a cut of the fines.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...