A tracking system that comes pre-installed, can’t be removed or directly controlled by the customer that was obviously not designed with your needs in mind. Your car is speeding down the data-mining highway, driven by an invisible hand.
Concerned voices of privacy advocates are barely heard through the buzz of the OnStar’s self-extolled virtues in assuring driver safety and convenience. The simplistic approach continues to be used in an attempt of silencing any concerns over our ever-diminishing rights to privacy: “Only criminals are concerned with being watched – if you have nothing to hide, don’t worry about your privacy”. If only it were this simple.
They record and monitor conversations by you or others from your car, but if you ask for copies of your own records, you will find out that “OnStar is not required to release any audio or physical records…without a subpoena.” This information, however, can be used against you in a court of law.
Another troublesome feature of most new cars is the Event Data Recorder (“EDR”), or Black Box. Much like its namesake used in commercial airplanes, this device keeps track of how a car is being used, including speed, acceleration, braking, steering, and seat belt use. Prosecutors are already using information obtained from EDR’s as evidence against drivers – for example, in 2004 Robert Christmann was convicted in a New York traffic fatality based upon information downloaded from his car’s Black Box. It seems OnStar is next.
Even if you cancel your OnStar service (which is a monthly subscription), you must specifically opt out of the program to avoid being tracked.
Please Note: The incident below happened in May 2009. I share this story in hopes that you will be more aware of what’s slowly happening to your civil liberties.
A resident of Ball, Louisiana was detained for having a “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker on his vehicle and warned by a police officer about the “subversive” message it sent. The “suspect” was investigated for “extremist” activities.
According to a relative of the unnamed “suspect”, Her brother-in-law was driving home from work when he was stopped by police officers who told him “he had a subversive survivalist bumper sticker on his car.” “They proceeded to keep him there on the side of the road while they checked his record, keeping him standing by the side of the road for 30 over minutes.” Finding no record and no reason to keep him, they warned him to remove the sticker or he may be stopped again and then eventually let him go, she said.
Was this some rogue police officer with his own agenda? Hardly, small town police are being misled by phony left wing ‘reports’. The report from the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) called, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, which cites individuals who have certain bumper stickers on their vehicles as suspect, was delivered to tens of thousands of local law enforcement officers across the nation just weeks before the incident.
The report, which was based on a Missouri State Police Report that described supporters of presidential candidates Bob Barr, Ron Paul, and Chuck Baldwin as ‘militia’-type potential extremists and potential terrorists, is not the first effort of leftist radicals to slander their political opponents as ‘extremists.’ These ‘extremism’ are returning veterans, those who support homeschooling, oppose abortion, and post certain bumper stickers on their vehicles and other factors. The DHS not only issued that report, but also an earlier memo defining dozens of groups ,including tax protesters and others as “threats”.
The company, The Patriot Depot, sells the bumper sticker in question. COF Jay Taylor said ”It’s rather shocking, We’re supposedly have freedom of speech in our country.” Other bumber stickers the company make include sayings such as ”The Audacity of Nope,” “Taxed Enough Already,” “Born Free, Taxed to Death,” “Bring Home Our Troops: Send the Democrats” and “I’ll Keep my Guns and Money, You Keep the ‘Change’.”
“We hope people realize this is serious,” he said. The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag and the bumper sticker symbolize American patriotism, the need to defend Americans’ rights, and resistance to tyranny’s threats to American liberty. Those threats included – and still include – illegal taxation, profanation of Americans’ rights, and violation of the fundamental principles of American law.
The DHS report defines the “tax resistance movement” as “groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified.” It states that tax protesters “have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.”
The DHS also analyzes the “threat” level of Internet news websites, for the lexicon defines “alternative media” as “a term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets.” Perhaps the DHS has forgotten that the United States Of America has a First Ammendment.