OnStar Corp., the General Motors communication service for drivers, may soon start selling customer data to other companies.
In emails sent to customers, OnStar detailed changes to its privacy statement that goes into effect in December. Under the revised policy, the company may start collecting data from any vehicle equipped with an OnStar device and could share that information with credit card processors, law enforcement and others.
"We may share or sell anonymized data (including location, speed, and safety belt usage) with third parties for any purpose, which may prove useful for such things as research relating to public safety or traffic services," the privacy statement said.
OnStar devices can track a stolen vehicle, give drivers step-by-step directions, call an ambulance and even unlock your car. The devices were previously exclusive to General Motors vehicles until this July, when OnStar began offering rearview mirrors that can be installed in non-GM cars.
GM started notifying customers by email at the end of last week that it would make the changes to its privacy policies for OnStar, which is a subscription service that costs $19 or $29 per month, OnStar spokesman Adam Denison said.
Customers canceling the service will be notified that GM maintains a two-way connection and asked whether they would permit that to continue, Denison said. If the customers decline, GM would begin the process of disconnecting the vehicle immediately, he said.
GM argues that leaving the connection open would allow it to provide car owners with updated warranty or recall data and warn of severe weather conditions.
In response, OnStar has released this video with Vice President of OnStar Subscriber Services Joanne Finnorn as a clarification to their terms: