New York Senator Charles Schumer is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate OnStar’s new privacy policy that tracks customers even after they cancel the service, and selling the data of customers and former customers to third parties.

Schumer sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, calling on the FTC to “launch a full investigation to determine whether the company’s actions constitute an unfair trade practice,” according to a press release. He also sent a letter to OnStar Executive Director Linda Marshall calling on him to revise the policy.

“By tracking drivers even after they’ve cancelled their service, OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory,” Schumer said.

OnStar uses GPS technology and a car-to-company connection to track locations of drivers and give other services. They can use this access to give directions or call for help if there’s a car accident. This access gives them other information, however, giving them a record of each vehicle including its speed, whether people in the vehicle wore seat-belts, data on their odometer, and other information.

They used to cancel the two-way communication system between a customer’s car and the company if the service was cancelled, but under the new policy, they keep this access. According to Schumer’s website, “OnStar has said that it will retain connectivity to the vehicle unless the consumer specifically and explicitly requests that the connectivity be terminated. Simple termination of the service contract will no longer suffice to end the tracking.

OnStar’s new privacy policy on collecting data even after customers cancel the service reads as follows:

Please note: changing your communication preferences will only stop delivery of marketing-related communications. We may continue to send you important service or account related information via these channels. We may also send you important messages using the OnStar system in your car to provide you with information regarding important service or account issues or to notify you about the deactivation of your OnStar service. You may choose not to receive these types of messages by contacting us as outlined above.

OnStar’s new privacy policy on sharing information with third parties reads as follows:

OnStar is able to provide a safer, more convenient driving experience by sharing selected information with selected parties.

This would include sharing selected information with roadside assistance providers, emergency service providers, the police, our wireless service providers, credit card processors, data management companies, and others, as may be required to deliver the OnStar services. We may also share information we collect about you or your car as required by law, or to protect the safety of you or others.

We may also share information we collect about you or your car with the following (this does not include the sharing of the location or speed of your car, or your safety belt usage or credit card information):

the maker of your car*; its subsidiaries, affiliates, a successor or an assignee of a significant part of your car maker’s or OnStar’s business, to enable it to evaluate or research the safety, quality, usage and functionality of its cars, to contact you with important information about your car or for marketing purposes;

your dealer, to assist it in servicing your car or for marketing purposes;

your satellite radio provider and our wireless service providers, to enable them to contact you with important information about your satellite or wireless services or for marketing purposes;

your fleet company, if you drive a car that is part of a fleet;

your rental company, if you drive a rental car; and

any third party on an anonymized basis

About The Author

Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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