Computer and GPS Locator

As my Dad made it through engineering at MIT and moved to Colorado you guys must have the answers I need.

I got a 2009 Chev Silverado with OnStar, etc. I get computer reports regarding my mileage, tire pressure, that I don’t want. Cutting the trial subscription to OnStar didn’t stop big brother from tracking my truck info and probably my movements.

How do I send big brother out to pasture? There must be an antenna (maybe inside the cab) that I can disconnect.

Do I have to get an aftermarket computer without the spyware?

After keeping my 1973 Chev K2500 through two new engines that I put in alone I saved the money for a new truck (I hate SUV people calling their cars–trucks!) and don’t need government intrusion. What do the experts say? I read the Denver Post. Thanks, Thor Odinson

As Hank Hill would say, “Dale, I think you’re being a little paranoid.” OnStar works like an onboard cell phone, and only does what it needs to do when it needs to do it or when you tell it to do it. Also like a cell phone, if you don’t pay for it, it won’t work. Your trip computer and tire pressure monitoring system are only trying to help you. All this is confined to inside the vehicle. I seriously doubt the government is spying on you or anybody else through your truck.

Relax man. Yes it does keep a record of some things. I have not seen the details but it appears it does store a few things for a minute of two. It is just as likely to prove you innocent as it is to prove you guilty and I believe in either case it takes a court order to retrieve any data, which is not much.

Personally I would like it on every car, and it is on most (all?) modern cars. It does not send the data anywhere, it only stores it where it takes special equipment to access it.

It would appear you might need a change in driving habits. :slight_smile: Drive legal and don’t worry.

The only type of ‘government intervention’ that can be done with OnStar is the same type of government intervention that can be done with any cell phone. All modern cell phones have GPS locators which are accessible via Emergency 911. This helps emergency services to locate you if you are incapacitated and cannot tell them where you are. That is how OnStar can tell the 911 operator where the accident is. It can be the difference between life and death. One other nice thing OnStar can do is, if your vehicle is stolen, or you are carjacked, the people at OnStar can remotely disable your PCM, causing your vehicle to slow down so the criminal can be apprehended. This is much safer and less damaging to your vehicle than spike strips or a PIT maneuver, or allowing the thief to keep running and kill innocent people with your truck. This is way better than the Lojack of old.

Don’t worry at all about that dashboard display telling you what mpg you are getting or what your tire pressure is at all four corners. If you wait long enough, it will also tell you when you need an oil change. This technology has been available since before GPS was viable for the civilian market. All of this is done within the truck, without any need for GPS. They are considered safety and convenience features. They help people who are too lazy to check their tire pressure or to divide the number of gallons pumped into their tank into the number of miles driven to remain in the gene pool.

Maybe you need to find a shop gangsters use when they buy new GM vehicles to have the OnStar system removed. Do you know anyone who is connected to organized crime?

I think I remember Tony Soprano making a joke about having “all that OnStar $#i&” removed from his Escalade.

Yeah. This is probably the way to go.

Scroll up and read the initial question a little more carefully. Maybe I wasn’t clear. I get periodic reports to my email as to miles driven and tire pressure.

I’m a retired cop and am very well aware of government intervention–I don’t want it.
The info is NOT just temporary, not on the dashboard and obviously is not “done within the truck”.

You may not be aware that the phone company has a record of every call you make, the number you make it to and how long the call lasted, time & date. Not just long distance–every call–it doesn’t take a subpoena or warrant to get it. Ask the man who has been there.

So cancelling OnStar didn’t stop it and the dealer advised me that there is an antenna in the firewall or inside the back of the cab so auto thieves can’t disable it easily. Every car on a dealer’s lot is activated in case it is stolen after hours.

I don’t have a need to change driving habits–I’m legal all the time–required for my former employment. No body is stealing my truck and killing innocent people–the question I posted had nothing to do that anyway.

If you can’t stay focused on the question then any answer will be “non responsive and stricken from the record”

Maybe somebody really knows the answer–nice try though!

Perhaps you shouldn’t have given them your e-mail address. The reports will stop after the first year because GM will stop paying the phone bill then.

Do you have a cell phone?
You should know that your cellular carrier keeps a few months of records of everywhere that you go with that cell phone and when.

The email address actually serves as a heads-up that detailed information is being collected on board the truck, is routed through OnStar and possibly though servers that will never be reformatted or deleted. GM doesn’t pay the “phone bill” for a year. There is only a short trial period and if you don’t subscribe (they bliz you with reminders in the mail) the voice feature quits working. The information is still collected from the truck and sent to the email address. That is what one sees on the surface. What other spyware exists is what I need to eliminate.
My cellphone specifically DOES NOT have any GPS feature. No camera, no vidio, no text, it is an older phone that does not have any locator. If it did the sim card would be changed out.

BTW did you know that most copiers now have memory cards and if not destroyed the copy of your tax return that you made can be recovered and the data used for identity theft. That is a problem if you use a copier at the grocery store or library. That is what I was assigned to as a detective–white collar or economic crime. Thor

  1. GM did pay the phone bill for the first year for the cellular data channel that your truck is using to broadcast the data to GM. After that, the broadcasts will stop.

  2. You don’t understand cell phones. Your cellular carrier still knows where your phone in (within a few hundred feet) even without GPS on the phone. They know the approximate location because they triangulate the signal from you phone via the nearest cellular towers. They have to do this to be able to switch your phone from cell tower to cell tower. That’s why it’s called cellular. Plenty of people have had the alibi shot down because of a search of cellular carrier records. They can tell that your phone was within a block of the crime scene, instead of at the beach like you claimed.

Here’s a thought -

Your OnStar is not likely tracking your movements. It is most likely tracking your mileage. The odometer reading is likely being fed in to the computer that is sending the information. Relying on the GPS system integral in onstar runs the risk of having an odometer reading slightly different from what Onstar reads. It’s a negligible difference, but using the odometer reading is simply easier - you don’t need to remember the total distance traveled over time separately via the GPS, you just use the data that is already going through the car’s computer. Similarly, your tire pressure is going through the computer as well. Why pull information from a dozen sources when it can get the info from one?

So they probably don’t have a clue if you drove from New York to Miami or if you just drove around the block 10,000 times.

Sorry, but your approach seems just a bit paranoid to me. Understandable given your employment history, but still just a bit paranoid. Rather than over-worry about ID theft, I simply froze all my credit reports. Not a useless “fraud alert”, but freeze the suckers. It makes ID theft FAR less likely and less harmful if it does occur. Then I don’t have to worry about burning the copier after I use it. :slight_smile:

It’s just a cell-phone…Find it and disconnect it…It can be used to track you whether you pay the bill or not…All cell phones, subscribed or not, identify themselves to cell-sites as you move around…Call it background noise…

Yes, but for that to do any good, the OP needs to throw out his personal cell phone too.
(It might also be wise to cover the numbers on his license plate.)

Compilation of web info. Who knew?
[b]“A” The real problem here is not whether you want to use the system or not…the problem is that you don’t have control over the chip imbedded in the electrical system of YOUR automobile. You don’t have the option to turn off the GPS chip.
If GM wants to track you…they can. What is true for the GM ONSTAR system appears to be true for many of the other automobile manufacturers.

In addition to the fact that the consumer can’t turn off the GPS chip in his car if he so desires, there is not good legislation to limit how the GPS information gets used. As of this writing, I am not aware of limits on GM’s usage of that information. It also does not appear that there are good privacy controls in place for who else can have access to that information.

“B” The Event Data Recorder (EDR), a device used to record vehicle telemetry such as speed and driver inputs, is not a new device – GM has been using EDR units in its cars since 1990. EDRs became standard equipment in GM?s light-duty vehicles

Currently, EDRs are not mandatory but the data they collect will be standardized by the 2013 model year, when the following 15 data points must be collected:

*Change in forward crash speed

*Maximum change in forward crash speed

*Time from beginning of crash at which the maximum change in forward crash speed occurs

*Speed vehicle was traveling

*Percentage of engine throttle, percentage full (how far the accelerator pedal was pressed)

*Whether or not brake was applied

*Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) at the time of the crash

*Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) when the EDR data were downloaded

*Whether or not driver was using safety belt

*Whether or not frontal airbag warning lamp was on

*Driver frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag

*Right front passenger frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag

*Number of crash events

*Time between first two crash events, if applicable

*Whether or not EDR completed recording

Let us know what you think of mandatory event data recorders. Are they a necessary evil or just another product of ?the man??

Sources: General Motors, IIHS[/b]

But you don?t know what it is recording, nor do you know what information it?s sending home. You?d be amazed at that amount of data that can be sent. I can send speed, location, mileage, engine temp, etc in a short burst. But here?s what On-star says they collect.

?We may also collect the following information from your car:

? information about the car?s operation, including such things as diagnostic trouble codes, oil life remaining, tire pressure, fuel economy, odometer readings, and, in specific circumstances, approximate speed data as calculated from GPS data; Learn More
? information about collisions involving your car, such as safety belt usage, the direction from which your car was hit and which air bags have deployed;
? information about your use of the car and its features;
? information about when your car?s ignition is turned on or off and when your fuel is refilled, on an anonymized and aggregate basis;
? in specific circumstances, the location of your car. Learn more?

Say that it?s only update every 15 minutes. With that data anyone can soon discover, where you shop, where your friends live, where your kids go to school, where you have your car serviced. And if the police decided to stop you On-star can be used to disable your car. How long before the crook figure out how to do the same? So you don?t know what data is being sent , you don?t know how long it?s being kept, you don?t know how secure that information is.

I wonder how long before you get a speeding ticket or a seat-belt ticket based on that data sent by your car?

Basically you have nothing to worry about, as long you never speed, always use you seat-belt, or don’t drive in a high crime area or …

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.

But I can turn my cell phone off, if you try and disable On-Star you disable many features of the car.

One thing that occurred to me is that, for the money the OP spent on this 2009 Silverado 2500, he could have had a beautiful restoration performed on his previous truck, his old 1973 K20. Part of the restoration could have included a modern powertrain, maybe even a 6.0L and Allison trans out of a wrecked truck, or a tried and true 350 crate motor with an aftermarket electronic fuel injection system and built 700R4. Heck, with a $30-40k budget to work with, you could probably get whatever you want in a classic body style truck, and buy it done, never have to lift a finger on the project, and not have to worry about OnStar or the government tracking your truck, your gas mileage, your tire pressure, or anything else.

Can you get financing for a restoration project on a 1973 K20? Unless Thor paid cash for his Silverado, this might not be possible.

Look in your owner’s manual for the OnStar fuse location. What else can I say? Pull the fuse?

I assume he paid cash. He said in the post he saved his money for a new truck. I suppose that could mean he saved his money for a down payment on a new truck. Some people do omit details like that. Given the choice, I would sink $20k into a restoration on a classic rather than $40k on a new truck, if I had that kind of money.