OnStar data tracking, how it affects you


(CBS) - If you drive a car with an OnStar system, you may be subjected to being tracked even if you cancel the service.

According to the New York Times, OnStar notified customers of changes in the company's policies. Two things of note are: when you cancel your service, communication will no longer be shut down completely; plus, OnStar now reserves the right to share your data with any third-party it chooses.

The new terms and conditions state whether enrolled or not, "OnStar will maintain the two-way connection to your Vehicle...for an indefinite period of time to be determined by OnStar at our sole discretion."

The data OnStar collects includes vehicle identification number (VIN), make, model, year, date of purchase, seat belt usage and speed. 

Creepy, right? Obviously, this mainly applies to cars with OnStar pre-installed, which includes more than 30 GM models of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Saabs. OnStar FMV users can probably just take out the device.

So, is there a way to disable OnStar completely? Yes, there is. Whew!

OnStar spokesperson Brynn Guster tweeted, "when you start your service, it is enabled. This does begin until Dec. 1 and you can opt out by calling 1-888-4ONSTAR."

We contacted OnStar to clarify the language on the terms and conditions. The vice president of subscriber services, Joanne Finnorn, told us, "if the customer requests us to turn off the two-way connection, we will do as we have always done, and that is honor customers' requests."

"Our guiding practices regarding sharing our subscribers' personal information have not changed. We are always very specific about with whom we share customers' personal information, and how they will use it. We have never sold any personally identifiable information to any third party," Finnorn said about selling user data.

Of course, that doesn't mean they won't in the future though. Best advice is to keep an eye on the company that is keeping an eye on you. In today's world of scary hackers, you should be doing that anyway.