Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cops Have Been Using Onstar To Eavesdrop

LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS BEEN USING ONSTAR, SIRIUSXM, TO EAVESDROP, TRACK CAR LOCATIONS FOR MORE THAN 15 YEARS

'In at least two cases, individuals unwittingly had their conversations listened in on by law enforcement'
Tim Cushing | Tech Dirt - JANUARY 18, 2017
IMAGE CREDITS: MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES.

Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes is taking a closer look at a decade-plus of in-car surveillance, courtesy of electronics and services manufacturers are installing in as many cars as possible.

Following the news that cops are trying to sweat down an Amazon Echo in hopes of hearing murder-related conversations, it’s time to revisit the eavesdropping that’s gone on for years prior to today’s wealth of in-home recording devices.

One of the more recent examples can be found in a 2014 warrant that allowed New York police to trace a vehicle by demanding the satellite radio and telematics provider SiriusXM provide location information.

In this case, SiriusXM complied by turning on its “stolen vehicle recovery” mode, which allowed law enforcement to track the vehicle for ten days. SiriusXM told Forbes it only does this in response to search warrants and court orders. That may be the case for real-time tracking, but any location information captured and stored by SiriusXM can be had with nothing more than a subpoena, as this info is normally considered a third-party record.

It’s not just satellite radio companies allowing cops to engage in surreptitious tracking. OnStar and other in-vehicle services have been used by law enforcement to eavesdrop on personal conversations between drivers and passengers.


In at least two cases, individuals unwittingly had their conversations listened in on by law enforcement.