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Old 25 June 2007, 02:24 AM
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Icon18 OnStar is watching you

Comment: WXPNews.com news letter (seen by a lot of people) that has posted
this and I was wondering if it was true or not. This will probably crop up
more and more now that it has exposure.


Tina H. had this interesting story about OnStar "A friend of mine had On
Star in her vehicle. She ended up getting rid of the vehicle when it
turned on her. She was late one day and was speeding on the highway. On
Star came on and told her that she was exceeding the speed limit and
needed to slow down immediately. She ignored it. It warned her two more
times. She ended up getting stopped by the police a little way down the
road. Come to find out, the On Star system informed the police that she
speeding, how fast she was going, where she was located, and the vehicle
description." I can't vouch for the veracity of this story, but here's a
web site about privacy concerns related to OnStar:
http://www.onstarprivacy.com. Getting rid of the vehicle, though, seems
a bit drastic. One could just cancel the service.
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Old 25 June 2007, 03:36 AM
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IIRC OnStar came out even before E911 chips were more or less required on all handsets. Many - most of the ones I've seen, in fact - do not have this technology at all, which would make it problematic for the police to track them down (the E911 technology transmits location data when you call 911 based on triangulation; phones without E911 cannot do this very easily). In addition to the fact that if GM was dumb enough to make the phones do this, we'd have heard about it by now, I am going with a very strong "no way uh uh".
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Old 25 June 2007, 11:47 AM
lazerus the duck
 
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Hey if it was true I would recommend it as mandatory in all cars. I hate these people who consider speeding a God given right to all motorists.
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Old 25 June 2007, 01:31 PM
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This is a common misconception.
On*Star DOES have a GPS system built into it (if your handy with a soldering gun you can even plug the system into your laptop) but, they don't have ANY monitoring in the system at all.

For them to locate you, they have to "call" the vehicle and requests it's gps location. It's used as kind of a low jack security system, as well as handy for when you get lost and ned to contact them for driving directions.

As for the system "warning you" that you are speeding and then calling the police to warn THEM that you are speeding.. it's a load of bunk.

Otherwise i would have received at least a few tickets.

It's just not accurate.
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Old 25 June 2007, 02:39 PM
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On Star CAN locate your car via triangulation. That's how they can locate you and give you directions if you're lost. There IS no tattle function attached to it AFAIK.

GM HAS been installing a "black box" on some of their cars for a few years now, independent of OnStar and has even used it to defend themselves against product liability suits. The case I read about involved a woman who sued GM for a "runaway" Cadillac. She claimed in her suit that in spite of repeatedly "stomping on the brake pedal" the car kept accelerating, and she hit a building. The data downloaded from her car showed that in her confusion and panic leading up to the impact, she had been repeatedly stomping on the throttle peddle, mistaking it for the brake, and the suit was dismissed. In another case, the data was used to prove that a man who claimed he was 20mph over the speed limit was, in fact, doing over 100mph. This resulted in his conviction.

There are also some rental car companies that are installing "tattle" boxes on their cars that will report unsafe driving to the company, including sustained speeding habits. AFAIK, you agree to this before hand. If you agree to use one of these cars, you get a break in rental rates. If you break the rules, you pay a surcharge.
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Old 25 June 2007, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazerus the duck View Post
Hey if it was true I would recommend it as mandatory in all cars. I hate these people who consider speeding a God given right to all motorists.
Not all. Just me.
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  #7  
Old 25 June 2007, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazerus the duck View Post
Hey if it was true I would recommend it as mandatory in all cars. I hate these people who consider speeding a God given right to all motorists.
Meh, the cops in my area would end up being inundated with 100,000 calls an hour.
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Old 28 June 2007, 07:04 PM
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Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
 
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I hate responding to myself but..

After looking at the Boycott Onstar web page linked earlier in this thread, it seems to me that site is confusing Onstar with the vehicle black box (though they make reference to this black box in examples)

Onstar is nothing more then a cell phone equipped with a gps and tied into your vehicles computer.

If Onstar contacts you, there is an audible RING. When you get into an accident, Onstar doesn't contact your vehicle, your vehicle automatically dials out and contacts Onstar.

OnStar isn't HIDDEN in your vehicle. the mechanics may be, but there is a clearly visable Onstar console.

OnStar doesn't collect information. It does not have a recording device or memory built into it.

A few years back, at 11 pm on a march night, i was travelling down a dry straight stretch of highway in downtown toronto.

My stability control fritzed on me, and my ABS and fuel shutoff kicked in.. i think i went from 100 kph down to 0 in about 2 seconds.. on a highway, at night.

So i am sitting in the middle of the highway and the little onstar ring comes and a person says "Mr N_D_L, we have received the information on your rollover and have dispatched emergency personel.. are you able to respond?"

Since i hadn't rolled over, they were able to reset everything, disable my stability control and let me on my way so i could get it repaired.

I think the most dangerous part of a GM car is how "smart" they are.. not that they have vehicle communications.
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