Selling Your Driving Habits – OnStar Updates ToS

Found via Slashdot, a revealing article by Jonathan Zdziarski analyzes vehicle-surveillance (“safety”) company OnStar‘s updated ToS.   
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Owen Myles, Contributing Writer

For many, the new nightmare of cellphone and personal-device based surveillance has been alarming enough. To make matters worse yet, we learn that Big Brother – and Sister? – now seek to take permanent residence on the dashboards of our vehicles too.  

A few years ago I was riding in a family member’s car which had OnStar services. I began examining the user manual, and observed what seemed (to me) the potential for unsolicited auditory surveillance.

After expressing my suspicions, the owner eventually canceled their service. Today, however, canceling the service would be insufficient; as explained in Zdziarski’s article, even after canceling OnStar services, they will continue to sell your driving data to third parties. Such “third parties” are not very well defined, and welcome conjecture.

Information collected by this mutant subsidiary of General Motors include seat belt usage, GPS data, and potential access to auditory surveillance – though the FBI has been (“officially”) denied such access under a seemingly reasonable safety law.

Speculation has been made that information collected by OnStar may eventually be assimilated by info-titans such as Google. Though there appears to be no immediate evidence of insurance companies being involved, it would be entirely naive to not expect as much. Certainly information will be imparted to “law” enforcement, and anyone following Activist Post should have a few unsettling ideas of what that implies.

Similarly, Event data recorders are already installed in most vehicles. Such devices have assisted in prosecuting those who have committed vehicular homicide, and criminal DUI cases. While there are clearly positive aspects to this, it has been done largely without adequate announcement, and other uses of such data remain obscure. Judging by the way cellphone, credit card and Internet data is handled, it couldn’t be to our advantage.

It can hardly be viewed by any other perspective; US citizens are being homogenized into a universal status of “criminal intent”. It should be government’s duty to prevent this very sort of thing from ever occurring, yet it is implored instead.

Without public awareness, and some measure of cognitive fortitude, the bulk of the US population shall be willfully waltzing into a state of affairs never before seen. Without any stretch of the imagination, the word “privacy” could become archaic, to be found only in unabridged dictionaries and sanitariums. Whether it is an all-pervasive police-state which is sought, or merely a marketing gulag, we really must reclaim our right to not be criminals or involuntary products. The Zdziarski article is an essential read and, sadly, one of multiple examples of kindred lurking slime.

The road to hell – adages aside – is now paved with closed eyes. Rise and shine, and down with info tyranny!
*OnStar’s updated ToS can be viewed at Zdziarski’s blog

The Eccentric Intelligence Agency: Helping the Ouroboros finish itself.

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