June 22, 2024

New York Times investigates how GM car buyers were unexpectedly enrolled in a program that increased insurance rates

The article regarding GM sharing driving data from connected vehicles with third parties now has a third part. In summary, journalist Kashmir Hill revealed that GM was sharing driving data of specific drivers and trips with companies like LexisNexis and Verisk, which in turn were used by auto insurance companies to assess risk. This data was collected through the Smart Driver+ program, a driving gamification initiative aimed at improving driving habits. Following public backlash, GM announced the termination of its partnership with LexisNexis due to concerns about customer trust and privacy.

GM stated that owners had to opt in to the SmartDriver program. In a recent development, Hill discovered that her Chevrolet Bolt had been enrolled in Smart Driver+ without her knowledge. Despite checking the OnStar app, which indicated they were not enrolled, further investigation revealed that they were in fact part of the program. GM attributed this discrepancy to a technical glitch affecting a small number of owners.

During a visit to the dealership, Hill uncovered that salespeople automatically signed customers up for OnStar and Smart Driver without explicit consent. The dealership’s internal processes incentivized enrollment in these programs, leading to confusion and potential privacy violations for customers. Even if customers had opted in, the information provided did not clearly outline the extent of data sharing with third parties.

In response to the controversy, GM has ceased data sharing with third-party companies, discontinued the Smart Driver program in all vehicles, and appointed a new trust and privacy officer. Despite these measures, GM is facing multiple federal lawsuits from disgruntled owners affected by SmartDriver.


Q: Can customers opt out of Smart Driver+?
A: GM has discontinued the Smart Driver program in response to privacy concerns, so customers no longer have the option to enroll.

Q: How is GM addressing customer trust and privacy concerns?
A: GM has implemented changes to its privacy policies, ceased data sharing with third-party companies, and appointed a new trust and privacy officer.


The controversy surrounding GM’s sharing of driving data highlights the importance of transparency and consent in data collection practices. Customers should be fully informed about how their data is being used and have the option to opt out of such programs. GM’s response to the situation, including discontinuing Smart Driver and improving privacy measures, is a step in the right direction towards rebuilding trust with their customers.

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