OnStar bows to congressional pressure, reverses privacy changes

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Democratic Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (Minn.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (Del.) urged the company to reconsider the changes last week, and Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.) asked the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into whether the changes amounted to to unfair trade practices.

“We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,” OnStar President Linda Marshall said in a statement. “This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers’ hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.” 

She said that if OnStar ever decides to collect data from customers who have canceled their service, customers would have to opt into the program.

Marshall said maintaining the data connection would have allowed OnStar to alert former customers about natural disasters or product recalls.

“OnStar’s reversal of its policy to automatically track ex-customers is a major victory for personal privacy and the company’s commitment that it would offer an opt-in, if it were ever to move forward with a program to track ex-customers, rightly restores the individual as the ultimate decision-maker as to what personal information they are willing to share," Schumer said in a statement. "I applaud their responsiveness to our concerns.”