Bob Barr: OnStar’s dark side

Bob Barr at the Daily Caller:

In radio ads and literature, “OnStar” is portrayed by its parent company, General Motors, as a benign service, the only purpose of which is to enable elderly folks, mothers with children and lost drivers in general to quickly access emergency and locator services by communicating with friendly voices that are always willing and able to help. There is, however, a darker side to OnStar, as recently altered GM policies revealed.

GM announced in its most recent “terms and conditions” for the OnStar subscription service that the company would retain information collected from vehicles and make it available to third parties — even after subscribers canceled the service.

This latest intrusion really should not come as a surprise. Concerns had been expressed for years that OnStar and similar services could put personal privacy at risk, as law enforcement agencies continue to expand their powers in the post-9/11 world. The FBI specifically has been attempting to access OnStar as a pre-positioned vehicle-listening device since at least 2003.

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