GM, LexisNexis lawsuit filed over data collection - SUV VEHICLE

GM, LexisNexis lawsuit filed over data collection


About a year ago, we reported on General Motors dropping Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its electric vehicles. We called this a money grab and an attempt to collect data on you. But according to a recent GM, LexisNexis lawsuit filed in Florida, GM didn’t need to drop the phone mirroring systems to begin stalking you. Nope, all it had to do was enroll you in its Smart Driver program.

A recent New York Times investigation reveals that GM – and other automakers – have been collecting data on their drivers and sharing it with LexisNexis, which in turn results in increased insurance rates. Insurance companies pull data from LexisNexis when deciding who to cover and at what premium.

The man filing the lawsuit, Romeo Chicco, states his insurance premiums doubled when he tried to get auto insurance, and seven different companies rejected him. When an insurance agent told him he had been rejected because of data in his LexisNexis report, he pulled the file and found it contained data on 258 trips he had taken in is 2021 Cadillac XT6. Turns out, the data was provided by OnStar from the Safe Driver program he didn’t realize he had enrolled in.

What’s in the GM, LexisNexis lawsuit?

The actual lawsuit is full of legal mumbo jumbo, but the gist is that Chicco claims GM and OnStar violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices act and violates the states common law invasion of privacy. The suit names GM, OnStar and LexisNexis as the defendant.

The lawsuit states there was no mention of the Safe Driver program at point of purchase, and in fact, Chicco states he didn’t want OnStar services and did not push the blue OnStar button “to get started.” Yet, because he downloaded the MyCadillac app, he started to diagnostic emails from OnStar but thought it was provided by the app. Neither the welcome email nor the diagnostic reports mentioned that the data was being shared with a third party.

Here’s where things get interesting. OnStar’s Smart Driver FAQ says drivers must consent to having the data collected and you have to enroll separately to provide consent to OnStar Smart Driver. Chicco’s vehicle was not connected to an OnStar account, and he states he never consented to the data collection elsewhere.

How do you protect your data?

In the world of connected things, Big Brother is always watching. If your car is connected to the internet, there is a chance your car is collecting – and sharing – data on you. If you’re curious, you can request your LexisNexis report by visiting the company’s consumer portal. And, frankly, you probably want to do this if you’ve been denied insurance or if your rates have increased.

Outside of that, if you are connected to your vehicle’s app, be sure to go into your app’s account and check your privacy settings. Read the fine print and turn off location services and data collection. Before you enable Wi-Fi or subscription services, again, read the fine print and know exactly what you’re signing up for.

The bottom line

As we hurtle forward into a tech present and future, there’s a lot to absorb about who is watching you and what they know about you. Have you ever signed up for an app or service, and just hit accept, accept, accept without reading the fine print to know what you just agreed to? Yeah, it’s probably time to stop that.

We give up a lot of privacy to have “smart” tech at our fingertips, but maybe it’s time to re-think that.


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