Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM
The company wanted to keep monitoring the travel and habits of drivers even after they no longer subscribe to the service. It has responded to sharp criticism of that plan.
Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.
In a statement, the company says today that:
"OnStar recently sent emails to customers telling them that effective Dec. 1, their service would change so that data from a customer vehicle would continue to be transmitted to OnStar after service was canceled — unless the customer asked for it to be shut off.
" 'We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,' OnStar President Linda Marshall said. 'This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers' hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.' "
Critics had a couple problems with OnStar's original plan. One was that the company would have been collecting data on the travel and driving habits of drivers who no longer actively subscribed to its service. The other problem, said critics, was that OnStar reserved the right to sell that information — though the company said it had no plan to do that. Both problems raised privacy issues.
OnStar's position was that the information could be valuable to future car designers and that keeping the connections open would allow it to send emergency alerts to drivers who might not otherwise be reachable. And, it said, drivers could "opt-out" of having the connections maintained — though that option was probably not clear to many vehicle owners.
Now, OnStar's Marshall says in the company's statement, "if OnStar ever offers the option of a data connection after cancellation, it would only be when a customer opted-in, Marshall said. And then OnStar would honor customers' preferences about how data from that connection is treated." [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]
This article is filed in: News, Home Page Top Stories
The French honor the patron saint of baking with cream-filled cake topped with caramelized sugar.
Bloomberg: Facebook's Saverin May Save $67 Million By Renouncing Citizenship
News that Eduardo Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship ignited controversy about tax dodging.
Town's Effort To Link Fracking And Illness Falls Short
Despite residents' fears, scientists say they can't link health woes to gas wells in Dish, Texas.
Chipping In To Your Office Lottery Pool? Read This First
A dispute in Chicago over $118 million underscores why it's important to write things down.
Latino Voters: Seen, But Will They Be Heard, In 2012?
Now the fastest growing voting group, Latinos could play a key role in battleground states.
News updates from WGBH