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OnStar Reverses ToS Changes

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the or-will-they dept.

Government 90

First time accepted submitter BlackWind writes "It seems that even Government Motors is smart enough to figure out when they've gone too far. GM announced that the OnStar service will revert to their previous Terms of Service in the wake of the firestorm of criticism that their plan to sell GPS data created."

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Political theatre (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37531084)

I'd bet GM will be making an extra large contribution to Schumer's campaign this year. If Schumer was really serious about doing anything but shaking down GM, he would have introduced legislation prohibiting vehicle tracking. But that's not going to happen obviously.

Re:Political theatre (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531192)

I'd bet GM will be making an extra large contribution to Schumer's campaign this year. If Schumer was really serious about doing anything but shaking down GM, he would have introduced legislation prohibiting vehicle tracking. But that's not going to happen obviously.

Like that would get through with the way Republicans are right now. Rand Paul would hold it up arguing that the government is denying corporate freedoms by not allowing OnStar to forcefully ID chip every person that ever rides in a car with OnStar in it.

Re:Political theatre (2)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37531558)

Why slam republicans for hypothetically stopping something the democrats would never start?

Analyze the situation. The problem is not the other political party, it's a government that puts itself and its campaign sponsors above its citizens.

Re:Political theatre (2)

Pope (17780) | about 3 years ago | (#37531798)

Blame an electoral system that has candidates out campaigning and having to raise money a year + out from the actual election date. Running a campaign that long takes boatloads of money.

Re:Political theatre (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37531908)

It's not about the length of the campaign, it's about the intelligence of the electorate. Anybody influenced by a tv commercial, a yard sign, a bumper sticker, or a hairdo is intellectually unqualified to vote.

Re:Political theatre (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#37532660)

" Hope and Change" and "Change we can believe in"

Nuff said

Re:Political theatre (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37532952)

> Nuff said
C'mon, Archangel Michael. As commander of God's army, I'd like to think you can do better than plagiarizing a randomly selected Yahoo! comment. How about something unexpected, like "Row, row, row with Roosevelt?"

Re:Political theatre (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#37546912)

Just sayin. -- stolen from my daughter who probably stole it from one of her friends.

Better?

Re:Political theatre (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37558318)

Yeah, it's all good now. Thanks.

Re:Political theatre (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37534534)

Anyone with a brain knows that the Republicans in the House and Senate have been doing everything
they could to undermine what might have been possible for the Obama administration to
accomplish.

And you ? All you can you is quote some stupid crap as though what you wrote matters. You're just
another chump for the hater faction, that's all you are, and that is a kind way of saying you are
a mindless piece of shit, bud.

Re:Political theatre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37532502)

"having to raise money"?
 
No, wanting to raise money.

Re:Political theatre (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37532056)

The problem is not the other political party, it's a government that puts itself and its campaign sponsors above its citizens.

Why do you blame the government, which at least in the U.S. is made up of us, instead of those "sponsors" that have spent billions to influence it to our detriment?

When there is an attack on institutions, why would you blame the institution? Our government has been a victim of an all-out campaign to corrupt and control it by a group of abstract corporate entities (only some of them fully-American themselves). If someone was poisoning your water table, would you blame your pump?

Re:Political theatre (2)

Shotgun (30919) | about 3 years ago | (#37532308)

If that pump was expected to handle the pollution. Yes.

Did someone remove greed from the human psyche yesterday, and Slashdot simply refused to post a story about it? I think not. Therefore, a functioning government should be able to withstand assaults from both greedy corporate directors, entitlement recipients and labor unions.

It's not a matter of someone poisoning the water. The water has been poisoned since Cain hit able over the head with a rock (substitute analogy from your favorite genesis story). If the government can't handle human greed, then it is patently broken. The modus operandi, pretending that it doesn't exist, is the downfall of both capitalistic and communistic governments.

Re:Political theatre (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37532802)

a functioning government should be able to withstand assaults from both greedy corporate directors, entitlement recipients and labor unions.

I think the government can handle all those. What it is having trouble with is a corrupted rogue majority in the Supreme Court who have been co-opted by a level of greed and power that the founders did not anticipate.

With Citizens United, we entered a boundary condition where the influence of corporate power will accelerate faster than the institutions of government can handle. We're broken.

If the government can't handle human greed, then it is patently broken.

It can handle human greed, but it cannot handle the single-minded super-greed of the millennial corporation. It's a kind of greed that did not exist in the late 18th century, even with John Company. In those days, the corporations were still within the grasp of human control. Today's super-corporations, using techniques that exceed human perception (say, program trading). Once a certain level of corporate control over government is achieved, the government is corrupted to the point that it can never cope. For example, lobby groups and Super-Pacs like ALEC are the ones actually writing legislation. The staffers in congress are all riding a corporate merry-go-round where they are assured massive wealth as soon as they leave government and then are given huge bonuses to go back to work for government at critical times.

We've passed a singularity of corporate power. It's broken and we're fucked. I would say it's time for a constitutional convention, but the same entities would immediately grasp control of any such process and the product would be immeasurably worse than what we've got.

The most important thing the Founders could have put into the Constitution is a provision for a new constitution every 20 years, whether we like it or not.

Re:Political theatre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37532840)

Thats where your wrong, there is no government that is resistant to human greed, if you can come up with an example than by all means tell us please. This is where the people that are governed must always be vigilant of big government and I quote.

"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837.

Re:Political theatre (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37535350)

Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837.

Andrew Jackson was a scumbag wealthy slaveowner, a member of the aristocracy who portrayed himself as a "regular guy" - the kind you'd want to have a beer with. He was responsible for the political spoils system, turning public service into political service where every president gets to fire a big chunk of every public worker down to mailman and hire his cronies and supporters, thereby eliminating the concept of competence in government and creating the patronage system. He was the granddaddy of the teabaggers.

Maybe the most despicable part of a mainly despicable presidency was the great relish with which he conducted genocide against Native Americans in order to solidify the institution of slavery. He's famous for the Trail of Tears and and for brutally wiping out the Seminole to help out the Florida slave trade with plans of expanding American slave business into Central and South America.

He was the one who created the racist legacy of the Southern Democrat (Dixiecrat) creating a stain on the party that didn't come out fully until the 21st century. He is exactly the kind of old world Democrat that would be now be a Republican (especially with a black man now at the head of the Democratic Party). Oh yeah, he'd win the GOP Iowa Straw Poll today hands down.

He was the George W Bush of his day. No, he was worse than that, he was the Ronald Reagan of his day. If he said water was wet, I'd get a second opinion. Even his political benediction, a Rick Perry applause line if there ever was one, stinks of the shame he brought on the institution of the Presidency and the entire United States of America.

By quoting him, you make any other point you may have made unworthy of consideration.

Re:Political theatre (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37533334)

> Why do you blame the government, ...
> instead of those "sponsors"
That would be like blaming wolves for being wolves. do what you will with them, but they'll still be wolves.

> When there is an attack on institutions, why would
> you blame the institution?
Because the institution swore to defend us and itself, and then set a table with raw pork, invited the wolves inside, and dropped their pants and mated.

This government is no longer of the people, and won't be until we re-assert ourselves and stop being sheep. Until then, our government consists of two rival wolf packs, neither of which has any particular interest in sheep's rights.

Re:Political theatre (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37535994)

This government is no longer of the people, and won't be until we re-assert ourselves and stop being sheep.

Absolutely. Why would anyone expect the government to care when people don't.

I disagree though, about the government no longer being "of the people". I think we're getting a perfect reflection of ourselves.

What will never be a reflection of ourselves, though, is the 21st century corporation. It is a machine, a golem. Nothing human or humanly frail about it. A hungry automaton. Capable of devouring everything and halfway to doing so.

It's the number one threat to us and to our world.

Re:Political theatre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37538874)

But a huge part of the problem is that there's a perception that both parties are alike.

The fact is that they aren't. The Democrats aren't good. But the Republicans are pure, unadulterated evil. And until we can get that point across, we'll never have a real liberal party in this country.

So at this point in our history, we really need to emphasize that the parties ARE very different.

Re:Political theatre (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37544640)

> Republicans are pure, unadulterated evil.
Humans are incapable of purity, be it for good or evil.

This sort of talk is neither accurate nor helpful. We're all fallible humans fumbling our way through life, and there's little point in playing along with pigeon-holing, stereotyping, or dividing others into "us vs them".

The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is which subset of reality they choose to acknowledge.

Re:Political theatre (0)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37531630)

Schumer doesn't need campaign funds. He's elected for life in a district of drones who feel that just by virtue of being from where you are from, you vote for Schumer.

Re:Political theatre (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37531594)

Government Motors has friends in high places, especially these days. There are no real rules that apply to a corporation that large and that deeply in bed with the ruling party, there are only suggestions, favors to be exchanged, horses to be traded.

Look at General Motors getting bailed out, while Ford didn't, and then they get the White House to pressure Ford not to point this fact out in advertising.

Look at the exceptionally well-connected General Electric, not only not paying any taxes but getting paid billions by the government to just exist.

Look at the sweetheart loan guarantees for the investments of contributors and political allies.

This SHOULD all work against the /. narrative that one party is phenomenally more beholden to corporate interests than the other party is. But the truth is that the (D)'s are hiking up their skirts for campaign contributions from well-connected corporations and their investors on a daily basis, it's just a different group of corporations.

Re:Political theatre (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37531912)

I'd bet GM will be making an extra large contribution to Schumer's campaign this year. If Schumer was really serious about doing anything but shaking down GM, he would have introduced legislation prohibiting vehicle tracking. But that's not going to happen obviously.

Nice to see the thinking at GM has survived since the 1980's when "If it sounds like a stupid idea, let's do it" seemed to be the company motto. I don't think there's a need for legislation as present laws, it present laws are properly observed and enforced.

Re:Political theatre (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37532322)

If GM didn't back off and Schumer suddenly went silent, you might have a point, but that's not what happened.

smart idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531090)

Because selling everyone's data in this data and age was clearly a good idea. Come on now GM. Companies have been hit far harder for doing much less.

Re:smart idea (4, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37531644)

Given that the vehicles being tracked are all GM vehicles, we should be able to parlay this data into the most intricate map of North American breakdown lanes ever produced.

Re:smart idea (1)

tombeard (126886) | about 3 years ago | (#37534866)

Never mod points when you need them.

BOO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531100)

It would have been funnier if they went through with the deal

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531138)

Is there any way to prove if they did/do actually sell the data they have aquired?

Will this stop them? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37531158)

Removing it from the ToS does not necessarily means they won't sell the data.

Re:Will this stop them? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 3 years ago | (#37533046)

I remember in the past, there was a story (on slashdot, I think) about how General Motors wasn't able to comply with secret tracking requests because the hardware wasn't set up to track people without revealing the situation to the driver. The concern to me is, while they may not be talking about selling your gps data anymore, the ability to gather the data is still there even if the service is inactive, and with no notification.

Re:Will this stop them? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#37533496)

I remember a story from a while back where the FBI was able to use Onstar to listen to conversations going on in a car without the occupants knowing about it. The only problem arose if someone in the car attempted to use Onstar while this was happening (I don't remember what happened when they did that, only that it raised problems for listening without the people in the car knowing about it).

Dear OnStar, (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 3 years ago | (#37531178)

Dear OnStar (and anybody AT&T else thinking GOOGLE about doing FACEBOOK something similar):

Did you really think we wouldn't notice?

Love,
The People Who Are Watching Your Smug Privacy-Raping Asses

Re:Dear OnStar, (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#37531554)

Dear The People Who Are Watching Your Smug Privacy-Raping Asses,

Do you really think we care if you notice?

We'll introduce this again in a year or two and you'll notice again but there will be half as many complaints and we'll withdraw it. The time after that there will be even less complaints we will push it through.

Love,
Onstar.

P.S. Do you remember when you didn't need to get a pat down to board a plane? When you didn't have to give the government advance notice of your international travel plans? When corporations couldn't destroy your life with a "mistyped" SSN?

Re:Dear OnStar, (1)

zoloto (586738) | about 3 years ago | (#37532600)

yes i remember those days and so does my brother. when being able to carry his sidearm on an airplane by simply being a cop was normal and not something people worried about.

Re:Dear OnStar, (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 3 years ago | (#37534128)

Whoa, since when do we have to give advance notice of international travel plans? I hadn't heard of this. Do you have an article or something to prove that?

Re:Dear OnStar, (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#37536436)

http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/ [tsa.gov]

Only when flying (and I guess lots of Americans travel over land not being an island, unlike where I'm from), Actually I see no mention of being restricted to international, maybe the US airlines just do it for you under the covers while when I've flown from the US on a non-US airline I had to that out after buying the ticket.

Re:Dear OnStar, (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37531904)

Average Joes didn't notice. A bunch of geeks and one politician noticed. We got lucky, that's all.

I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (3, Interesting)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 3 years ago | (#37531204)

Here is what I was about to post to the original article here....

Initially, I read the TOS very quickly, and didn't notice the rewrite specifics. Due to reading the actual TOS a second time, I called all the way from Europe to cancel the service on my car that sits idle (pardon the pun) in Southern California. When I get back, I plan to rip the RF device out of the car.
Insurance can't be trusted, and I know they'll be buying the data. Geo spatial analysis will make it insanely easy to un-anonimize the data, and as we've seen very recently, when a company is bought or sold, the new owners like to re-define the rules of engagement. Right now, insurance asks for all your medical data during a claim, what's to stop them from pooling, analyzing, and/or asking for this data pertaining to your driving? Nothing.
The interesting thing is the On-Star support person said three times, "The information is only released with your consent." I replied all three times, "That's what your old TOS said. With all due respect, I appreciate your efforts, however I have an exceptionally firm grasp of the English language, and it very specifically states the data can be sold at GM's discretion OR with my consent. Please cancel."

Hmmm...oh well... It's sorta funny they actually corrected course. Netflix obviously didn't learn this lesson or execute a course correction nearly as well.

Re:I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531480)

Netflix only (arguably) made their mistake in how they implemented change, not in what they did.

Re:I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (2)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | about 3 years ago | (#37531840)

I bought a brand new Pontiac G8 GT a couple years back. Not only did I leave the dealer lot without activating OnStar (much to the dismay of the salesman), I removed the module from the car as soon as I got home. Very easy to do, simply unplugged the antenna and electrical harnesses, and unclipped it from the rear deck. No tools needed, no side effects, and the only "feature" I lost was bluetooth integration (which I don't use) and obviously the OnStar "features" which I didn't want. When I traded the car in, I popped the module back in the car. No harm, no foul. I suspect not all GM vehicles make it this easy - especially from an accessibility standpoint. IMHO it would be welcomed, though. I have heard some vehicles pass the CAN bus THROUGH the module, rather than adding it as another module ON the bus. In this case, you'd have to jumper the harness, but still easy enough for any /.'er to accomplish I imagine.

Re:I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 3 years ago | (#37532072)

It was that easy on my Tahoe. I plan to replace the OnStar box with a BlueSTAR box; a plug-and-play unit that provides the bluetooth and hands-free capabilities.

Re:I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37534918)

Why not just pull the fuse?

Re:I wondered as I sat on hold for 20 minutes... (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 3 years ago | (#37540526)

I've thought of that, but with my luck it would also be the circuit for something needed, such as the fuel pump. I haven't ventured over to the Camaro forum lately, but you're likely right. It might just be a fuse pull. I just haven't looked.

YOUe FAIL IT!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531232)

To survive a7 all

Well, Duh (1)

Flector (1702640) | about 3 years ago | (#37531244)

"For the life of the car" lack of privacy means I would never buy a car with OnStar in my life.

Re:Well, Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531392)

Let the any of these bastards try to track my CJ5. The only thing even resembling a computer in it is the ignition control module.

Fuck em.

Re:Well, Duh (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | about 3 years ago | (#37531800)

Eh. I'm not going to let that keep me from owning a car that I want. What I DID do is disconnect the coax to the satellite and cell antenna. Now it just has a red "I can't talk to the mothership" telltale in the rearview mirror frame.

Re:Well, Duh (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37532484)

If you buy new, be sure to not only have the entire cost of the onstar system itemized and then removed from the total, but also an additional amount for the trouble you'll have to go through to make sure it's disconnected and really unable to talk to the mother ship. You should probably take a bit more off due to the "free" first few month's service since they must have tacked that cost on somewhere.

Too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531286)

How much data was sold before they reversed themselves?

Come on. (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 3 years ago | (#37531304)

You know, you've got a perfectly good summary going on an important issue, and you go and make yourself look like a child by calling General Motors "Government Motors". Why? Do you honestly think it's clever, or particularly effective at getting your point across?

Re:Come on. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531402)

Hey, commenter, do you think that your need to point something like that out to the poster of the article makes you look really cool for figuring it out?

It's right there in black and white. We read it. Get over yourself. You're acting like a child that is telling on someone in the open.

Re:Come on. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531662)

And you are a cunt.

Re:Come on. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531692)

And you are correct.

Re:Come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37531862)

LOL -- great grandparent is a GIANT cunt.

Re:Come on. (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 years ago | (#37531702)

A moniker that should stay with them.
They were a shit company that allowed bad design and union thuggery to make them unable to compete.
The taxpayer saved them and it ended up with the union owning half the company and the investors got screwed.
Fuck GM

Re:Come on. (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37532022)

A moniker that should stay with them.

Yeah. "Government Motors" is clearly namecalling, and an insult... but sometimes insults are deserved, at least for a while. People need to remember that GM failed, and only exists because it leeched off tax dollars. Ford didn't. That gives me a hell of a lot more appreciation for Ford's management.

Re:Come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37532998)

This ^. And the fact my Ford has 268k miles on it with no major repairs. I even have family that work for GM who've offered to get me a car with their discount. I'd rather support a company that can support itself.

Re:Come on. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#37534770)

my Ford has 268k miles on it with no major repairs

Is it an F-150?

Re:Come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37532986)

Toyota also took a bailout. What can their cutesy moniker be? I want to concentrate on other issues than the one at hand, and I think a good moniker is the best way to handle it.

Plus (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 3 years ago | (#37533688)

it allows us to readily identify the childish postings if economically ignorant baggers so we don't have to waste any additional time on their impotent babbling.

Re:Come on. (3)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 3 years ago | (#37531732)

I agree, only Drudge and rightwingers call GM Government Motors. I suppose at least they're advertising their right-wing bias with a metaphorical blink tag. Therefore, we can assume the story is a troll or otherwise partisan like RedState, DailyKos, etc... I suspect this is the kind of shit that pushed CmdrTaco to leave /. because it's become much more conspicuous recently and particularly since he left ...

Re:Come on. (1)

halivar (535827) | about 3 years ago | (#37533064)

Therefore, we can assume the story is a troll

If RedState or DKos said drinking rubbing alcohol was bad, would you immediately run to the medicine cabinet for a swig?

Re:Come on. (2)

wevets (939468) | about 3 years ago | (#37531792)

Good point. The whole country ought to be real glad the government got involved in saving GM rather than letting it go into liquidation or be bought by the Chinese. In addition to saving a whole lot of jobs, it also helped hold an important industrial base in American hands. And on top of that, the taxpayers made money on the deal as GM recovers and pays off what the taxpayers chipped in to safe this company.

Re:Come on. (2)

sithkhan (536425) | about 3 years ago | (#37532150)

You may be correct on the Chinese fire sale. However, your assertion that the taxpayers of the United States are going to see all that money recouped is patently false at this time. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271382418887092.html [wsj.com] http://www.autoblog.com/2011/04/21/report-fed-mulling-summer-sale-of-gm-stock-would-take-big-loss/ [autoblog.com] The stock owned by the government needed to be sold at $50/share to break even. But what's 11 billion dollars when you want to raise government spending by another 1.6 trillion? A rounding error, to be sure.

Re:Come on. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 years ago | (#37533614)

Nothing good can come from propping up failed companies. So much of what is wrong with capitalism in America comes just from that. Capitalism needs failures, and executives who drive companies into the ground need to fail - golden parachute or not, they won't be given the chance to destroy another company if the first one fails hard enough.

Similarly, investors in terrible companies need to lose all their money to the people shorting those companies, so that future inventments will be made by smarter people. The smarter the people making investment decisions, the better life is for everyone, long term.

Re:Come on. (1)

wevets (939468) | about 3 years ago | (#37533980)

Well, you may be right in an ideologically pure world, but that world doesn't actually exist, and you should perhaps think about what is required by the real world. (Further, government has a legitimate role in supporting the economy when the failures that you say Capitalism needs overcome Capitalism's ability to recover. Read up on the Great Depression, and remember that Capitalism's self recovery mechanisms were too feeble to get us out of the Depression. What got us out was the grand daddy of all government stimulus programs, WWII, after which the US was deeper in debt, as a percentage of post-war GDP, than it is today. We paid our way out of that one by raising taxes which coincided with a period of great American prosperity. Kind of knocks the wind out of the "lower taxes to create jobs" sails, dontcha know.) To return to the topic at hand, to keep America strong and competitive from a strategic point of view. Sure, most companies that can't justify themselves should and are allowed to fail, but we need some strategic capabilities that we can't allow ourselves to lose. There have been many examples where the government had stepped in to do things, including propping up companies, that were required for the strategic advancement of the countries. I'll start with the building of the transcontinental railroad in the 1860's, which was paid for by granting 10-square-mile alternating sections along the right of way through the great plains and elsewhere that the railroad companies then sold to farmers who would benefit from having a rail road close by to get their goods to market. The government then proceeded to essentially rebuild these railroads at taxpayer expense for WWI and WWII, to the benefit of the private railroad companies, because of national strategic need. The railroads certainly weren't and couldn't make the necessary investments. Good thing the government did this, or you might have learned German in high school instead of French or Spanish. For background, read "Hear that Lonesome Whistle Blow" by Dee Brown. There are other examples, but no room and little time to write about them.

Re:Come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37547358)

"There are other examples, but no room and little time to write about them."

Yeah you are far too busy to go another sentence or two. After what.... 30 fucking sentences?

You reek of pompousness..... Get off your high horse. Protecting the rich helps no one but the rich. The rich think they can bully their way into more money by threatening to cut jobs and doing so whenever the government pisses them off. When jobs are created they are low paying garbage and always less than the previous guy made. Firing a $120K/yr guy and hiring two $55K/yr guys equals 10K saved and a pat on the back for "creating jobs". The new guys suck and get canned shortly after when they decide on one guy to advance and promote to 75K. Now they've cut 120K/yr to 110K/yr to 75K/yr. Now they've saved 35K, while cherry-picking the next talented guy who will make the company serious money.

That money is shared exclusively with the shareholders and executives in the form of bonuses and more money in the companies coffers. As long as they only fire one guy or two per day they can lay off 10,000 people without much attention. After all, we all know they are PR whores. Only the most greedy pay people to maintain a false image to those who don't know. Profit Profit Profit. Morals are for poor broke suckers. Do lots of artificial fake good things so that no one can paint you in a bad picture. Use the money you stole from the middle class. Concentrate wealth upwards. They think without smart executives the workers are just mindless passionless drones. Use them like pawns the suckers! Working for nothing!

Revolution will come eventually. Big staircases in front of bay windows are great places for hanging bodies. Some day you'll realize miserable people have no regard for the life of fat cat con men...... We out number you.

Re:Come on. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#37533544)

You know, you've got a perfectly good summary going on an important issue, and you go and make yourself look like a child by calling General Motors "Government Motors". Why?

Because GM is now owned by the government and management decisions are made in Washington. Even if the government has sold its stock in GM, the way the "bailout" was executed, it is obvious that the conditions of ownership are at the discretion of the President.

Re:Come on. (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 3 years ago | (#37534166)

Heh does that mean that the USA should be the United States of China? After all they bailed us out....

No Fair! (1)

Chrisje (471362) | about 3 years ago | (#37531332)

Reading the title of this one, and not knowing who or what OnStar are, I completely thought this was about The Original Series.

Bummer. Dude. Seriously? No Shatner?

Re:No Fair! (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 3 years ago | (#37533162)

It's their service that automatically calls for help in the event of an automobile accident.

Re:No Fair! (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 3 years ago | (#37534190)

And then you hear a strange disembodied voice from your onstar unit (assuming it wasn't damaged) asking you if you were ok and they detected the airbags went off. I wonder what they would do if you flatly denied anything was wrong.

Only partial reversal? (4, Interesting)

sl3xd (111641) | about 3 years ago | (#37531486)

From what I read in TFA, they only reverted the part where they continue to track you after you've canceled I saw nothing about them changing their minds about selling your data.

The TOS changed...? (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | about 3 years ago | (#37531714)

Just because the ToS changed doesn't mean they're still not going to collect and sell all that data. Now it's just not in the ToS and they'll be a little quieter about who it goes to.

Re:The TOS changed...? (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | about 3 years ago | (#37531848)

Yeah, now they'll just give it away... smile.

Question: Didn't they know this would happen? (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | about 3 years ago | (#37531950)

or is this just another case of pushing the limits and seeing how much they can get away with? Also i would like to know if someone or some people are going to continue to monitor to see if they actually are implementing back to the old ToS or are just reverting back to it on paper only yet still using peoples data anyway.

the fact remains that they collect the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37532050)

and like the borders bookstore closure, anyone can 'buy' their way into that data.

If you don't like them collecting data, take a wrench to onstar, and don't drive with a cellphone....

no more need (1)

jammerstore (2468772) | about 3 years ago | (#37532518)

great, there is no more need to use a GPS jammer [jammer-store.com]

Re:no more need (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 3 years ago | (#37534202)

There is no way those are legal. But I want one.

Just how anonymous can the data be? (1)

Flector (1702640) | about 3 years ago | (#37532934)

If the car is parked at home almost every night.

Re:Just how anonymous can the data be? (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 3 years ago | (#37534274)

Heh maybe THAT'S why my neighbor is so pissed at me parking my car in front of his house....

How will you ever know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37534102)

How will you ever know what OnStar is doing with your vehicle history anyway? They revert the ToS now, and change it later. Spin-offs, bankruptcy sales, change in management, ... and they may not bother being so public about it next time.

Re:How will you ever know (1)

tombeard (126886) | about 3 years ago | (#37535664)

From demonstrated practice, they can change the TOS, sell the data, then revert the TOS. No way to ever know what they give themselves permission to do.

It's simply an attempt to recover their investment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37535712)

I think the policy was simply an attempt to liberate money from a rather large investment in equipment rather than an evil Big-Brother-ish type of plot. Just like the Sirius radios, on-star installed their radios for free in the hope that enough folks would subscribe to the service to turn a profit. With people looking more closely at what they spend, On-Star found their subscription rates falling and revenue decreasing. To use a public utilities term, they had a stranded asset in all those radios. Rather than entice subscribers to part with cash, all they had to do was to continue monitoring and sell data to get the investment back. Even if it wasn't evil, the TOS still puts us on the losing end; we provide them data for free and we're exposed to negative consequences.

There is a lot more of this sort of thing going on than most people realize. A lot of the roads in this area have signs that show transit time between exit. They get that from monitoring cell phone signals. There is currently nothing more than a breakable promise that the information won't be used for anything more than transit time calculation. When the folks that installed that equipment start looking around for more cash, I'm sure they'll find other outlets, like tracking individual cars and issuing speeding tickets or the like.

I hope Sen Schumer doesn't just walk away. Legislation is needed to prevent to On-Star or any other company from ever again unilaterally changing the contract terms to favor their revenue stream over my privacy.

look on the bright side (1)

ryan420 (221788) | about 3 years ago | (#37537090)

The backlash and negative PR actually had an effect.

OnStar is lame (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 years ago | (#37538610)

OnStar is lame, sorry but it is. They've tried to stay relevant by adding "services" which are overpriced and overrated. Sure, they can tie into your OBDII system and let you know if you have a problem, but you also have a check engine light too which for most of us indicates that there's something that needs to be done.

I pulled my OnStar box out and replaced it with another device that now allows me to use my Bluetooth integrated devices in my car so this ToS change didn't bother me, but what does bother me is that they feel that they could pull this BS on people and not get called on it. As a GM owner it's a shame that they haven't gotten rid of their arrogant attitude.

Onstar and continued monitoring (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | about 3 years ago | (#37539766)

When the initial term is up, I would not mind continuous monitoring. If the vehicle was stolen, could they locate it. At that point I would pay a finders fee.

No OnStar for me, thanks. (1)

forrie (695122) | about 3 years ago | (#37540776)

If I ever get a car that has OnStar in it, the cables are getting clipped and equipment removed.

These devices (on most cars) have the ability to receive disable signals from the service, in the unfortunate case of being involved in a police chase (LOL). Seriously, no thanks. Wires clipped, in the trash. I'll paint the button a different color.

Punny Headline should have been... (1)

geekzealot1982 (1996172) | about 3 years ago | (#37542174)

"Onstar changes course" or "Onstar reverses course of TOS changes"
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