What an eventful few weeks it’s been for OnStar. Last week, a story broke that the telematics service would continue collecting customer data even after the service was cancelled by the user. Worse, OnStar was requesting the right to sell that data (in anonymous, aggregate form) to third party companies, which prompted a public outcry. New York Senator Chuck Schumer even got involved, asking the FTC to probe the legality of OnStar’s data harvesting.
As of yesterday, OnStar has reversed it’s position on changes to terms and conditions. As before, canceling the service will terminate the collection of data from a specific vehicle, without any additional opting out required from the former user. OnStar President Linda Marshall expressed her regrets at the confusion or concern caused by the proposed changes, saying that the proposed amendments “did not satisfy our subscribers.”
OnStar isn’t ruling out keeping a data connection if the service is terminated, but customers would need to opt-in for such a service. On the positive side, OnStar tells customers that such a feature could provide critical data about vehicle recalls, natural disasters and other urgent bits of information. Customers would also get to specify what happens with any data collected, which is a significant change from the previously proposed terms and conditions.