: OnStar Diagnostics and the Black Box



SoCadillac
02-05-06, 11:47 PM
Just out of curiosity I know that GM can read you PCM through OnStar and that there is a black box (so to speak) that can be retained and analyzed after an accident (its data is being used in court). Is it possible for GM to be studying your driving habits and when you take your V in for service can they tell whether you have been abusing it?

crowan
02-06-06, 01:35 AM
The black box saves data that is stored after some event, such as an accident triggers sensors that record data for a short period of time (usually 5 seconds) prior to the event. Some sensors can trigger a signal to a central monitoring station such as OnStar (think airbag deployment). The black boxes represent another area where technology is outpacing the law. There really are no laws or standards regulating access to the information contained in the boxes. Further, new and "improved" boxes are being developed that can provide real time data monitoring and/or tracking capability. Those items will probably result in some privacy legislation and restrictions on use.

OnStar has tremendous monitoring capabilities, many of which are a part of their marketing package. However, did you know that the OnStar speaker in your car can be turned on remotely by OnStar? The result is that all of your conversations with passengers, or while speaking on your regular cell phone, can be monitored without your knowledge. It is an accepted tool for law enforcement, but I often wonder if some bored Onstar operators don't abuse the power themselves as entertainment.

Of more concern to members of the Forum is the fact that most major companies have an active "competitive intelligence" or "business intelligence" program that involves having security personnel and/or private contractors surfing the internet, especially chat rooms that address their products, in an effort to stay abreast of issues of concern, to identify potential problems, to identify disgruntled employees, and learn more about what their competition is doing. In a forum such as this, a lurker, or an agent of GM, posing as an enthusiast, can identify "troublemakers" and review all of their previous posts in an effort to obtain damaging admissions against them in future litigation. In an extreme example, it is possible that through indiscrete posts, they can also identify the person and the dealer where his/her car gets serviced and deny warranty claims on the basis of abuse etc. As I said, that is an extreme example, but it is something to think about when you see threads asking things like "How Many Kills Do You Have?" or other questions that deal with your driving style.

The internet is a great tool, but it can come back to bite you in certain circumstances.

CR

ctsvett
02-06-06, 01:43 AM
cheap insurance...

http://www.cadillacfaq.com/faq/answers/onstardisable/

I dont use it (I have a cell phone) and there is NO reason they should still be active in my car...

Reed

heavymetals
02-06-06, 02:02 AM
I agree that the big corps monitor forums and chat rooms.

However, most are looking for the errant employee and they usually concentrate on the stock chat rooms.

As the old saying goes, never say anything on the phone you wouldn't want everyone else to hear.

It is worse on the internet.

Never post anything you don't want to be connected to, because you are.

ctsvett
02-06-06, 02:04 AM
I should add that I dont think onstar is contributing to their denial of warranty claims... They would do that anyway...

Reed

heavymetals
02-06-06, 02:08 AM
I should add that I dont think onstar is contributing to their denial of warranty claims... They would do that anyway...

Reed

RIM SHOT!

crowan
02-06-06, 06:15 AM
I should add that I dont think onstar is contributing to their denial of warranty claims... They would do that anyway...

Reed

I agree. OnStar is just a service that is capable of being abused and/or intrusive.

CR

ewill3rd
02-06-06, 07:02 AM
Well you guys saw that on TV so it must be true.... :histeric:
I always like to hear this kind of stuff even though it frustrates me to no end.

There is no black box on your car, first of all..... it's silver. (of course black boxes in airplanes are really orange but that's beside the point)
The SDM, or air bag module does record crash data.
The reason it records crash data in a deployment event is for the purpose of making the car safe.
Do you think they put black boxes in airplanes to eavesdrop on the pilots or to determine what happened in a plane crash?
In the early days when the systems were under development they set this stuff up to record this information so they could analyze the data to see how to make the system safer for occupants in the event of a collision. Some recent litigation has revealed that if you are in violation of the law and you try to blame the carmaker for your own stupidity they can use this "crash data" to prove that you are retarded. Wah.

Next, OnStar can listen in your car... sure.
IF YOU HEAR A RINGING SOUND AND PUSH THE WHITE DOT BUTTON TO ANSWER THE CALL! They can then listen to everything you say.
When OnStar is activated your radio is muted so if you are driving around and your radio stops working and you hear someone giggling over your stereo speakers then I might suspect that they are spying on you.

I could post a blog on the internet saying that I work for some super secret government agency and divulge that some guys mom is an alien from another planet and that she eats small children and within 24 hours it would be all over the news and the internet and it's likely that it would be on this forum with links pointing to the "positive proof" that it's true. Heck I think I saw Elvis and Hitler last week at the grocery store too!

Besides who cares if they listen to you in your car, they have your house filled with listening devices and cameras anyway, plus your TV has a camera in it so they can see you anytime you walk in front of it anyway!

Don't believe everything you hear.

I suppose however that just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are NOT out to get you!

urbanski
02-06-06, 08:28 AM
i think its the silver/yellow box
it said air bag on it
http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/8571/floordeadening107xz.th.jpg (http://img152.imageshack.us/my.php?image=floordeadening107xz.jpg)

ewill3rd
02-06-06, 09:05 AM
Yes that is the SDM, it's right behind the shifter area under the center console.

CIWS
02-06-06, 09:27 AM
Next, OnStar can listen in your car... sure.
IF YOU HEAR A RINGING SOUND AND PUSH THE WHITE DOT BUTTON TO ANSWER THE CALL! They can then listen to everything you say.
When OnStar is activated your radio is muted so if you are driving around and your radio stops working and you hear someone giggling over your stereo speakers then I might suspect that they are spying on you.


DUDE, this happened to me just yesterday !! The CD Player muted and I started hearing the ringing sound with the little Onstar logo showing up in the lower left corner of the display. So I push the phone button and it's my friends calling me on my cell to tell me I left my phone at the Superbowl party. ;)

crowan
02-06-06, 10:13 AM
Well you guys saw that on TV so it must be true.... :histeric:
I always like to hear this kind of stuff even though it frustrates me to no end.

There is no black box on your car, first of all..... it's silver. (of course black boxes in airplanes are really orange but that's beside the point)
The SDM, or air bag module does record crash data.
The reason it records crash data in a deployment event is for the purpose of making the car safe.
Do you think they put black boxes in airplanes to eavesdrop on the pilots or to determine what happened in a plane crash?
In the early days when the systems were under development they set this stuff up to record this information so they could analyze the data to see how to make the system safer for occupants in the event of a collision. Some recent litigation has revealed that if you are in violation of the law and you try to blame the carmaker for your own stupidity they can use this "crash data" to prove that you are retarded. Wah.

Next, OnStar can listen in your car... sure.
IF YOU HEAR A RINGING SOUND AND PUSH THE WHITE DOT BUTTON TO ANSWER THE CALL! They can then listen to everything you say.
When OnStar is activated your radio is muted so if you are driving around and your radio stops working and you hear someone giggling over your stereo speakers then I might suspect that they are spying on you.

I could post a blog on the internet saying that I work for some super secret government agency and divulge that some guys mom is an alien from another planet and that she eats small children and within 24 hours it would be all over the news and the internet and it's likely that it would be on this forum with links pointing to the "positive proof" that it's true. Heck I think I saw Elvis and Hitler last week at the grocery store too!

Besides who cares if they listen to you in your car, they have your house filled with listening devices and cameras anyway, plus your TV has a camera in it so they can see you anytime you walk in front of it anyway!

Don't believe everything you hear.

I suppose however that just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are NOT out to get you!

I'm glad that you are amused, but you don't know what you are talking about regarding OnStar. As a veteran law enforcement officer, it is my job to be familiar with those tools and the only reason that I mentioned it is that the process has been made public by a lawsuit filed by OnStar against my former agency, the FBI.

When law enforcement listens into your OnStar, it does not mute your radio because it disables the rest of the system. That is why OnStar is suing the government. OnStar is suing because it is concerned that they are subject to suits from customers who are paying for services that are not available to them because law enforcement is controlling the system. For example, in an accident where the airbag deploys, the system could not call OnStar, and the car could not be located.

So, no paranoia, aliens, or black helicopters circling overhead. Just the real world clashing with new technology. The case is public information so no national secrets are being divulged here. You don't have to be a criminal or a nut to be interested in and/or concerned about privacy issues, particularly when the potential intrusion is the result of technological back doors in your personal property that you are paying for each month. Now you know.

CR

ewill3rd
02-06-06, 12:13 PM
I know that I see more conjecture based on hearsay.

What are you talking about in your car that you don't want the cops to hear about? They can bore themselves listening to me all they want.

I understand that this MAY be possible but I'd need more proof than some guy professing to be an FBI agent in an internet bulletin board.
I know it's hard to believe but I have heard that some people actually go on the internet and pretend to be people that they aren't. No insult intended, I just don't put much faith in many things I read on the internet.

I could also say that Sanyo is suing the police for installing monitoring devices in their TV sets but that wouldn't be proof anymore than what you have told me.

BTW, lawsuits don't make people guilty, it's makes them "suspects".
Perhaps I am mistaken about that too, I am sure someone will be more than happy to correct me if that is so.

I respect your viewpoint despite what our little emoticon friend might imply.
I just don't really give a rat's hiney about whether or not "big brother" is wasting his time watching me or not.

For those worried about this HUGE privacy risk, you can unplug the modules, then you don't have to be afraid of them anymore.
However on some new cars this won't work because of the architecture of the communication system on the car.
(the car won't start with the onstar module disconnected)

I'd be more worried about the cell phone in my pocket than my OnStar system, or how about that toll pass transponder in the window of your car?
How about your web cam that's connected to your computer?
What about that always on internet connection?

urbanski
02-06-06, 12:58 PM
i'm mostly worried about the hidden little men who turn on the "automatic" faucets and dispense paper towels in public restrooms.....watching me pee...i mean creepy ya know?

Mat347
02-06-06, 01:22 PM
My Cadillac buddy says a customer of his was speeding on a public road. OnStar activated the system and asked him what the reason he was going ~120 was. My bud says the customer was paying for Onstar, which is why they were monitoring him. Anyone else who pays for the service have this happen to them?

StealthV
02-06-06, 01:38 PM
Deep thoughts with Jack Handy...

With the Executive Branch recently in hot water for illegal wiretapping - OnStar, big brother, personal privacy and corporate American mentality is an interesting topic for debate.

As for the vehicle monitoring systems being used to deny warranty or protect the manufacturer in lawsuits, it's already been done and is continuing to be used today. :canttalk:


Interesting reads...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=onstar+fbi

CIWS
02-06-06, 01:49 PM
From one of the posted Google links.

http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200312/msg00109.html


The device discussed in the decision allows drivers to punch one of
three buttons: for emergencies, general information and roadside
assistance. The phone has a speaker and microphone, and it turns out
that the microphone may be activated surreptitiously, allowing
government agents to listen in on conversations in the car.

Geri Lama, a spokeswoman for OnStar, said that her company was not
involved in the case and that OnStar's setup was not capable of what
she called "stealth listening."

"Any time we call into the vehicle, it rings," she said, adding that
if a car is stolen, OnStar can retrieve data about its location but
cannot eavesdrop on the people inside.

Sounds like the other system, ATX, offered in BMW and Mercedes can.

Of course one shouldn't believe everything one reads on the internet. But then this thread is on the internet...... My head hurts..:canttalk:


;)

ewill3rd
02-06-06, 02:23 PM
Wasn't trying to start an argument, just trying to offer an opinion for some intelligent conversation.
I hope my comments are taken that way.

I think you mean the "alleged" illegal wire tapping.
I haven't heard of one case yet where someone was being prosecuted under charges which came from this NSA program. Everyone keeps talking about it, but no one has shown one piece of evidence or produced one person who's "rights have been trampled upon".

Yes, I'll agree it's hard to discern fact from fiction on the internet, which is why I take what people say with a grain of salt.
No offense intended to anyone.
Thanks for the productive conversation.
:)

heavymetals
02-06-06, 02:35 PM
A lot of the info from the NSA program is turned over to other countries and the US lets them arrest, detain, and set free (or escape from).

One of the reasons you don't hear about it in the US (arrests here) is that the first thing that happens is that they get US lawyers and access to the press.

CIWS
02-06-06, 05:08 PM
Sounds like an individual with a little inititive might come up with a couple of switch installs to disable the onboard mic unless needed and / or the onstar module. Might be a market for it..

crowan
02-06-06, 07:18 PM
I know that I see more conjecture based on hearsay.

What are you talking about in your car that you don't want the cops to hear about? They can bore themselves listening to me all they want.

I understand that this MAY be possible but I'd need more proof than some guy professing to be an FBI agent in an internet bulletin board.
I know it's hard to believe but I have heard that some people actually go on the internet and pretend to be people that they aren't. No insult intended, I just don't put much faith in many things I read on the internet.

I could also say that Sanyo is suing the police for installing monitoring devices in their TV sets but that wouldn't be proof anymore than what you have told me.

BTW, lawsuits don't make people guilty, it's makes them "suspects".
Perhaps I am mistaken about that too, I am sure someone will be more than happy to correct me if that is so.

I respect your viewpoint despite what our little emoticon friend might imply.
I just don't really give a rat's hiney about whether or not "big brother" is wasting his time watching me or not.

For those worried about this HUGE privacy risk, you can unplug the modules, then you don't have to be afraid of them anymore.
However on some new cars this won't work because of the architecture of the communication system on the car.
(the car won't start with the onstar module disconnected)

I'd be more worried about the cell phone in my pocket than my OnStar system, or how about that toll pass transponder in the window of your car?
How about your web cam that's connected to your computer?
What about that always on internet connection?

I was going to respond to each point, but I'll just let it go with this:

One of the great thing about this Forum is that there is always interesting information to learn on a daily basis. The individual who began this thread was interested in OnStar as it relates to certain privacy issues. I laid out an interesting ongoing legal issue that is on point.

Some people take privacy issues very seriously. Others, not so much. But in either case, I think it is better to have as much info as possible about services that I pay for so that I can make an educated decision about whether or not I want it.

The issue with OnStar is not something to necessarily freak out about, or march on OnStar Hq with torches and pitchforks, although it may be enough for some people to take it out of their cars or, at least, deactivate the mic. Its just a tidbit of information for people to file away.

Finally, the lawsuit is not about finding anyone guilty of anything. The issue is that if Customer John hits a tree on a country road and suffers serious injuries, he may think that OnStar is automatically calling for help and providing the location of his car. However, if he is being monitored by law enforcement, none of that can take place. If he, or his estate, sue OnStar for damages, who should be liable: OnStar or the Govt?

The fact that OnStar made such a sensitive issue public shows how concerned they are. Since it is now in the public domain, I thought that those who have an interest in such things should be aware. Those who don't care, or find the whole concept to be too hard to comprehend and/or believe, so be it.

CR

ewill3rd
02-07-06, 08:17 AM
I don't find it hard to comprehend or believe.

My only counter point would be, if Johnny Law is eavesdropping in your car and you hit a tree, isn't the fact that OnStar might not be notified sort of just like "eliminating the middle man".
I mean who is OnStar going to call?
You think that a law enforcement officer who's listening in on your in car conversation is going to let you die in your car just to cover his covert listening?
At any rate, someone would have to have difinitive proof that this was an actual risk in order to "sue" someone over it. Without the details that some seem privy too, it seems to me that this point assumes total guilt. That's what my comment was intended to address. I suppose if there is a documented case of this happening then it's a valid suit, I have no such knowledge. Of course that doesn't mean it's not so, but then again it doesn't mean it is fact either.

I have no problem with the sharing of information that seems important, I just thought the tone of the original post was a little bit 1984.

CIWS
02-07-06, 09:24 AM
I have no problem with the sharing of information that seems important, I just thought the tone of the original post was a little bit 1986.

Orwell's 1984 ?


I don't think anyone should be getting upset or offended by all of us passing on our knowledge and opinions on the subjects. It's up to each individual to decide what they wish to accept or reject. However I don't want someone not passing on what they may know about a subject simply because it might bother someone else. I'm glad to see the different views posted in the thread. :)

crowan
02-07-06, 10:15 AM
I don't find it hard to comprehend or believe.

My only counter point would be, if Johnny Law is eavesdropping in your car and you hit a tree, isn't the fact that OnStar might not be notified sort of just like "eliminating the middle man".
I mean who is OnStar going to call?
You think that a law enforcement officer who's listening in on your in car conversation is going to let you die in your car just to cover his covert listening?
At any rate, someone would have to have difinitive proof that this was an actual risk in order to "sue" someone over it. Without the details that some seem privy too, it seems to me that this point assumes total guilt. That's what my comment was intended to address. I suppose if there is a documented case of this happening then it's a valid suit, I have no such knowledge. Of course that doesn't mean it's not so, but then again it doesn't mean it is fact either.

I have no problem with the sharing of information that seems important, I just thought the tone of the original post was a little bit 1986.


I give up. :bonkers:

ewill3rd
02-07-06, 11:25 AM
Oops... yes 1984 is what I meant.

Crowan, you make some valid points, I don't mean to discount what you are saying.
Perhaps as an ingorant civilian I don't realize how much of this goes on.
I'll concede that.

Sorry to have frustrated you so.