GM cars tracking people without consent

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General Motors (GM) has been implicated in several reports and investigations for tracking drivers' data without their explicit consent and sharing this information with third parties, including insurance companies. This practice has raised significant privacy concerns and legal issues, leading to multiple lawsuits against the company.

Data Collection and Sharing Practices

GM's OnStar subsidiary is central to these allegations. OnStar's Smart Driver service collects detailed data on driving behavior, including speed, braking, and acceleration patterns. This data is then allegedly shared with data brokers like LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which in turn provides it to insurance companies. This can lead to increased insurance premiums for drivers without their knowledge.

Legal and Consumer Backlash

Several lawsuits have been filed against GM, accusing the company of collecting and sharing driver data without proper consent. These lawsuits claim that GM's practices violate privacy and consumer protection laws. For instance, a class action lawsuit highlights that GM and OnStar provided sensitive driving data to LexisNexis, which then created "risk scores" for insurers, potentially leading to higher insurance rates or even denial of coverage.

Company Responses and Actions

In response to the backlash, GM has stated that the OnStar Smart Driver service is optional and requires multiple consents from the user before data is shared. However, reports suggest that the consent process may be opaque, with critical information buried in lengthy privacy policies that many consumers do not read. Despite these assurances, the controversy has led to a broader discussion about the need for more stringent privacy regulations in the automotive industry.

Broader Industry Implications

The issue of data privacy in connected cars is not limited to GM. Other automakers are also reportedly engaging in similar practices, collecting vast amounts of data from their vehicles and sharing it with third parties. This has led to calls for federal investigations and stricter regulations to protect consumer privacy in the increasingly connected and data-driven automotive market. In summary, GM's alleged practice of tracking drivers without their consent and sharing this data with insurance companies has led to legal challenges and a significant public outcry. This situation underscores the growing privacy concerns in the automotive industry and the need for clearer consent mechanisms and stronger regulatory oversight.
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