Two years ago, Media Matters mocked Glenn Beck for his “conspiracy theory” that OnStar had too much power with its ability to track cars, listen to conversations and ultimately turn the car off. Well, it looks like his concerns were accurate, as GM has just made a major announcement about the GPS system. Wired Magazine now reports that even if you cancel your OnStar service, you are still being tracked.
Denison went on to say that if you want to cancel your OnStar service, they are still going to maintain a two-way connection to your vehicle unless the customer says otherwise. The connection will continue, he said, to make it “easier to re-enroll” in the program, which charges plans from $19 to $29 monthly for help with navigation and emergencies.
Personally, this makes me uncomfortable. I would think many customers are going to assume that when they cancel their subscriptions, the tracking device on their vehicle would no longer be functional. I would be curious to know if GM’s staff makes their customers aware that they have the option to opt out of being tracked or will you be expected to know to ask them to do disable this feature? Also, it doesn’t seem right that OnStar has the “right” to sell your GPS data.
Here is the the best technique for disabling the antenna on your vehicle from the OnStar GPS tracking system (preventing it from sending data to OnStar):
Un-screw the cable that goes to the antenna, then attach a 50 ohm load to both the antenna and cable, and it will render it useless as a tracking device. The optimal thing to do is to find out where the control module is located and remove the entire module, or add a kill switch to the dash that kills the module, but the airbags firing reactivates it. Use a shielded terminator, then attach the terminator housing to the vehicle chassis. It works like a charm.
Locating and full removing the module is the best option.