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After Urging from Sens. Franken and Coons OnStar Reverses it's Privacy Policy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

After learning that OnStar was changing their privacy policy to allow them to track people in their cars and sell people's information even after that person had canceled their subscription, Sens. Franken and Coons contacted OnStar to ask them to change their position. And today, OnStar annouced that it has reversed it's decision and will not track users who have canceled their subscriptions.

“OnStar did the right thing today, and I’m glad that so many consumers now won’t have to worry about their location information being shared without their consent,” said Sen. Franken.  “While I'm pleased that OnStar reversed its policy, I still have questions about how that company and others are treating consumers’ location information. I also hope this spurs Congress to pass my location privacy bill to prevent situations like this in the future. Consumers have a right to know what data is being collected about them and have a right to decide whether they want to share that information and when.”

Earlier this year, Sen. Franken introduced the Location Privacy Protection Act—cosponsored by Sen. Coons—which would require companies like OnStar to obtain their customers’ explicit permission before tracking their location information or sharing that information with third parties. Sen. Franken’s privacy bill has already garnered significant support: in addition to Sen. Coons, Sens. Blumenthal (D.-Conn.), Durbin (D.-Ill.), Menendez (D.-N.J.) and Sanders (I.-Vt.) have cosponsored, and the legislation has been endorsed by several groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology, Consumers Union, and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.

Sen. Franken has been a leader on privacy issues since joining the Senate and earlier this year was named chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology & the Law. In May, he held the first hearing of that subcommittee, called Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy, during which he heard from representatives from Apple and Google, officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and technology experts.

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