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202ONSTAR: what you don't know

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  • Cadillac Assistance
    Jun 22, 2002
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      Hey everybody, here's my editorial on Onstar. Onstar, optional on Cadillacs
      since 1996, standard equipment since 2001, is being touted as the invisible helper
      no motorist should be without. For a few dollars a month, you have access to
      an Onstar operator 24 hrs a day who can help you with trip routing, concierge
      services, and roadside assistance. In addition to being a hands free cellular
      phone system for your car, Onstar capabilities also include stolen vehicle tracking,
      remote door unlocking, GPS navigation assistance, and remote engine malfunction
      diagnostics.
      How is all this possible? The miracle of GPS satellite communications technology
      makes all of this and much more possible. Every Onstar equipped car has a V.I.U
      on board. (Vehicle Interface Unit) This V.I.U. is what links the Onstar satellite
      to your vehicle computers. All your onboard computers communicate with each other
      and with the V.I.U. over a dedicated Class II serial data circuit. The Onstar
      satellite can track your vehicle and send commands to your vehicle utilizing
      the V.I.U.
      Now the dark side. What your dealer may not have told you, is that these helpful
      Onstar satellites are actually owned and operated by the U.S Department of Defense.
      That's right, the Federal Government. The Feds. The Fibbies. Now, unless your
      mother is the director of the I.R.S., this fact alone should give you pause.
      Let's imagine it's the year 2007. You're going through your mail and you find
      an official looking envelope. You open it and read....
      DEAR MOTORIST, THIS IS AN OFFICIAL FEDERAL CITATION. ACCORDING TO OUR RECORDS
      OF YOUR VEHICLE DATA ARCHIVES, THE VEHICLE REGISTERED IN YOUR NAME, AND WITH
      THE VIU STATION ID NUMBER 000765438 EXCEEDED THE POSTED LEGAL SPEED LIMIT ON
      THE FOLLOWING OCCASION:
      DATE- JUNE 12, 2007
      TIME- 3:43:06 CDT
      LOCATION- I70 eastbound,MILEPOST 79
      SATELLITE DATA-
      mileage: 42,604
      run time: 21 minutes
      coolant temp: 89 deg. C
      cruise cont: on
      gear selected: 4th
      vehicle speed: 74 MPH
      throttle position: 22%
      mass air flow: 32g/s
      ACCORDING TO THIS DATA, YOUR VEHICLE WAS TRAVELING 9 MPH IN EXCESS OF THE LEGAL
      LIMIT. THE FINE FOR THIS VIOLATION IN YOUR STATE IS $85. PLEASE ENCLOSE YOUR
      PAYMENT IN THE PROVIDED ENVELOPE AND MAIL WITHIN 7 DAYS. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL
      RESULT IN.....
      Let's take our doomsday scenario a little further. Let's say you rip up your
      "Official Citation" and throw it in the garbage while incoherently mumbling something
      critical and unkind about speed limits and the people who invented them. Two
      weeks later you get into your car on a Monday morning to do battle with the road
      ragers, only to find out that when you turn the ignition key, nothing happens!
      The dash lights up, the door chime works, the headlights come on, the radio even
      works, but there's no response from the engine.
      You call Cadillac Roadside Assistance and explain your situation to the helpful
      operator. She asks for your name and verifies your vehicle identification number.
      She then informs you that her computer screen is displaying the following message:
      THE STARTING SYSTEM ON THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN DISABLED DUE TO OPERATOR NON-COMPLIANCE.
      PLEASE CONTACT THE VIOLATIONS BUREAU TO HAVE THIS SITUATION RESOLVED.
      Are you starting to get the picture? The above scenario may not be realistic
      today, but can it be far away? All the hardware is in place: your car is wired,
      the satellites are orbiting, the call centers are fully staffed. The stage has
      been set.
      Before you renew your Onstar contract or sign on for the first time, ask yourself
      these questions:
      Is that microphone in your headliner really your friend? Maybe you should have
      that offshore tax haven conversation with your accountant at his office, not
      in your car.
      Do you really want your vehicle's exact location known 24 hrs a day by some
      nameless, faceless bureaucrats working in an underground bunker somewhere relaying
      their carefully gleaned data to any government agency that asks?
      Do you really want a person who you can't see and who you don't know to be
      able to unlock your doors at will without your knowledge?
      How much is your personal privacy worth to you?
      As our privacy and freedoms continue to be eroded in this age of cybercommunications
      and progressive government control, let's make sure we don't make it any easier
      than we need to for hackers, prying eyes, and government agencies to infiltrate
      our lives.
      To put it all in a nutshell: Know where your V.I.U. fuse is, and be ready to
      pull it if neccessary! Just thought you should know.
      CaddyDaddy

      P.S. Got a question about your 1980-2002 Cadillac? Put the CadyyDaddy's 17 years
      of experience to work for you! E-mail to rgward2000@...

      P.P.S. Do you have this book? Cadillac: A Century of Excellence
      No Cadillac enthusiast should be without this beautiful book! Click to
      view:
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1586631683/qid%3D1024793430/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/002-5215465-9091209