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Originally published October 8 2011

OnStar continues spying on vehicles even after customers cancel service

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) If you own a vehicle equipped with an OnStar communication device, the company could be tracking your whereabouts and selling your information to third parties without your knowledge, even if you have long since cancelled the service. According to a recent report in AutoBlog, the General Motors (GM) subsidiary recently changed its official Terms and Conditions to allow for data collection on vehicles at any time, even when there is not an emergency or an actual call being made.

Back when the service was first unveiled, OnStar would only track users' vehicles during an emergency, or when it was necessary in order to recover a stolen vehicle. But recent modifications allow for tracking to occur at any time, and for any reason. Even users, who have since cancelled the service, can still be tracked under the new provisions, and also have their data sold to third parties for profit.

"Under our new Terms and Conditions, when a customer cancels service, we have informed customers that OnStar will maintain a two-way connection to their vehicle unless they ask us not to do so," reads a press statement released by OnStar concerning the changes. "Keeping the two-way connection open will also allow OnStar to capture general vehicle information that could be used in future product development."

AutoBlog suggests that the unidentified third parties, who might be interested in the data, include law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and others that, for whatever reason, want to spy on users' driving habits. And unless a user specifically calls OnStar and requests that such monitoring cease, as well as physically disable the device's communication capability, the company will have free access to spy on that user's vehicle indefinitely.

OnStar's new tracking protocols are very similar to the ones being used in cyberspace by social media empire Facebook. As we reported recently, new Facebook features recently introduced allow the site to track users' activity online, even after they have logged out of the service (

The spying tactics of both OnStar and Facebook represent a new era of privacy invasion in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to "opt out." With OnStar, users can still physically disconnect the device and (hopefully) escape the clutches of secret monitoring -- Facebook users, on the other hand, have virtually no more control over protecting their privacy.

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