General Motors, Tracking and Selling Your Movements




General Motors ‘OnStar’ GPS-Navigation systems have been available in new vehicles for a number of years. Many of you already know what it is; that is, a mapping-tracking-emergency response system built into the vehicle. A big difference however between this GPS navigation-tracking system and an over-the-counter GPS that you might purchase separately or elsewhere is that ‘big brother’ is watching you while you drive with OnStar.

The emergency response aspect of OnStar is, and has been, life saving. I am not in any way disregarding the good that has come of it. However I am pointing out the potential abuse and encroachment on our free movements. For example, a recent report, GM’s OnStar now spying on your car for profit, illustrates how the power of today’s technological advancements while providing fantastic capabilities and conveniences, are continuing to further entrap and snare us into a system that knows our every move.

“Now, OnStar says that it has the right to collect and sell personal, yet supposedly anonymous information on your vehicle, including speed, location, seat belt usage and other information.” reports

How do you feel about Government-General-Motors knowing where you’ve been, when you went there, the stops you made along the way, how fast you got there, how long you stayed, etc…? While the advantages of having an externally monitored GPS tracking system can be a very good thing if you’ve become snarled in an emergency situation and need help, the opportunity for abuse is immense.

Given the fact that profit is the obvious motivator, then one should not be surprised to discover that a system like OnStar would sell your data.

Think about this potential scenario… Could your insurance rates go up if they discover that you drive faster than the posted speed limit too often? Just saying…

Or maybe they notice that you frequent a particular type of store, which may result in targeted marketing junk mail, etc. Just saying…

It’s really not a whole lot different from you submitting your supermarket card when you buy groceries in order to get your ‘discount’. The reason you get a discount is because the information about the things that you buy are sold to others for targeted marketing. Again, sure, supposedly this data is anonymous, but to be honest, I don’t believe that in every case. Soon enough your health insurance rates may depend on the types of foods that you purchase, while at the same time one day you may not be able to purchase foods unless you submit your ‘card’. It’s not that far away. IMO.

While some may believe that these things will lead to a utopian world, where everything is balanced and perfectly fair, in reality it will be a world of slavery and ultimate control, one where you’ve been stripped of your liberties and freedoms.

In summary, I thought that this one example of OnStar selling your movements, may be another step towards that world.


Update: (I read the following statement on another blog…)
I’m a police officer. The On Star customer who canceled his subscription is not enough. As long as the device is in the car, it can be remotely turned on. They (On Star) can locate your car at any time and listen in on what you are saying in the car and you will have no idea the device has been activated. We the police, can simply present exigent circumstances not even reasonable suspicion, or probable cause to request this information.

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  1. This isn’t anything unique to OnStar. Every cell phone company knows every move you make and has a log of your life for every minute of the day. The paranoia about “Government Motors” is a bit overwrought given that, don’t you think?

    1. You make my general point with your additional example of cell phone tracking (I only included the grocery store discount card example, but there are many many more). This (OnStar) is yet just one more example of how our technology is tracking us.

  2. In Australia, government departments and quasi government departments including local councils are selling their data. You are just as likely to receive your drivers license renewal or council rate notice in the post with a bunch of targeted advertising.

    I did some contract work to one company called “The Data Sellers” (no longer in existence). Their whole business model was mining personal data and selling it to targeted customers. They also ran a call center tied to one of those “24 hour continuous infomercial” T.V. channels. Insidious marketing techniques. (this was the early nineties before computer data info really hit the big time.

  3. I absolutely agree Ken. When it first came out this is exactly what I said they would do with it. People do not realize just how pervasive this is in everything we do and how far reaching the information can ultimately be in our day to day lives.

    Ao………. as for the cell phone stuff. That is true only if you want to play the game the way they want you to, which most of you do as you just HAVE to be in constant contact with people. How the hell did we ever manage before when we just had a phone and maybe an answering machine. Why do you all buy into this crap.

    I have a cell phone and I am in a very remote area. It only works in some locations, service is very spotty dependant on being in a ‘high’ spot. I keep it off and turn it on when I want to use it. I have call answer and get the messages, if any, when I turn it on.

    But the system has everyone convinced they have to be in constant contact and when the phone isn’t being yacked on, you need to be texting, and when that isn’t required you need to play games.

    Get a grip on it people.

    You can

  4. yeah, with telecomms having blanket immunity to gather info for the NSA, i don’t see this as the next logical step. i’m not surprised at all. this was mentioned on the Sopranos when Tony got a new ride.

  5. you always have the option of having any tracking system installed in a new car removed. Same with car radios, ect.

  6. You can see this coming: mandatory large sails with your name on one side and ads on the other. Its the green-scene thing.

  7. Couldn’t hackers break into the system and “follow” people as they drive their cars? Also, couldn’t foreign governments do this too?
    Maybe at first, they’d do this to some movie star for fun, but later it could be anybody the government doesn’t like, wrong political party, gun owner, free speech, and so on.
    There is always some power-crazed, mentally unstable politician who says this is for your own good. They must stay up nights masterbating in bed and thinking up crazy shit like this.

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