A warning  from Glenn Beck about the privacy statement on the www.cars.gov website-Truth!  But the privacy policy was changed!

A warning from TV host Glenn Beck about the privacy popup statement on the www.cars.gov website-Truth!  But the pop up was removed!

Summary of eRumor:
Fox News host Glenn Beck warned not to log into the cars.gov website because it contained a disclaimer saying that your computer will become federal property and is subject to data retrieval and inspection.
The Truth:
On Friday, July 31, 2009, Fox News Network host Glenn Beck used a laptop computer on his program to demonstrate a privacy warning that came up when car dealers logged into  www.cars.gov, the official web site of the Car Allowance Rebate System.

The rebates were the result of legislation that offered consumers rebates between $3,500 and $4,500 for their trade-in vehicle when purchasing or leasing a new vehicle.  It was nicknamed “Cash for Clunkers.”

Beck did mention during his demonstration that “The dealer goes to cars.gov” to submit a transaction.  The pop up warning was supposed to come up from the dealer support page on the website but Beck was unable to demonstrate it.  Beck asked for a slide of the wording of the privacy to be brought up on to the screen and read it:

“This application provides access to the DoT CARS system.  When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the U.S. Government.  Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.”

After many calls to Washington, Beck announced his Monday August 3, 2009 program that the government agency that administrated the web site had removed policy pop up.   Program guest Judge Andrew Napolitano, speculated that even though the pop up warning was removed he was concerned that the policy that intercepts personal information from remote computers could still be in place.

The pop up warning from the dealer log in page may be gone from the Cars.Gov web site but TruthorFiction.com also found  a private policy statement said that the organization does “collect information about your visit that does not identify you personally. We can tell the computer, browser, and web service you are using. We also know the date, time, and pages you visit. Collecting this information helps us design the site to suit your needs. In the event of a known security or virus threat, we may collect information on the web content you view.”

The policy statement also said that the site may request and collect personal information from the visitor in the form of contact information, ID’s and Passwords.   The policy statement  does not make clear if they intercept just car.gov related information or all account information that might be stored on the computer systems accessing the web site.

This feature appeared on the Glenn Beck program on the Fox News Network:

YouTube Video from The Glenn Beck Program

Glenn Beck hosts a Fox News program on weekday afternoons as well as a syndicated talk radio program.  Beck is the author of several books including “Glenn Beck’s Common Sense – The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine” and “An Inconvenient Book – Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems “

updated 08/18/09