Uber settles complaint over data protection for riders, drivers

August 15, 2017

Uber agreed to implement new data protection measures to settle complaints that it failed to prevent improper snooping on driver and customer information, officials said Tuesday.

The ridesharing giant had faced complaints that it allowed some employees to use the "God view" to monitor customer movements that could allow Uber managers to keep tabs on journalists investigating the ridesharing giant.

A separate complaint said that Uber had also failed to prevent a data breach that allowed hackers to gain access to personal information on some 100,000 drivers.

The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement on an investigation into allegations that Uber failed to live up to data protection claims. It requires Uber to submit to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

"Uber failed consumers in two key ways: First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees' access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data," said FTC acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen in a statement.

"This case shows that, even if you're a fast growing company, you can't leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises."

Ohlhausen said the agency began its investigation in response to a "consumer uproar" over reports that Uber executives used "God view," indicating the whereabouts of riders, for parties and other purposes.

"We've always treated geolocation as sensitive information," Ohlhausen told a conference call.

The settlement contains no financial penalty, but Uber agreed to implement "a comprehensive privacy program" that will include independent audits, the FTC said. If it fails to live up to the agreement it could face fines.

The agency which enforces consumer and privacy protection said Uber had announced in November 2014—but failed to enforce—a "strict policy" prohibiting employees from accessing rider and driver data except for legitimate business purposes.

The FTC added in a statement that Uber "did not take reasonable, low-cost measures" that could have prevented a breach by using better practices to protect data in the internet cloud.

Uber, which has become the world's most valuable venture-backed startup despite complaints from regulators and others, has been roiled by a series of revelations about a toxic work culture and questionable business practices.

Its chief executive Travis Kalanick resigned in June, but investors and board members are battling over his successor and a lawsuit by one investor alleges Kalanick has been working behind the scenes to manipulate the board.

Explore further: Uber's ousted CEO calls investor lawsuit unfounded

Related Stories

Uber's ousted CEO calls investor lawsuit unfounded

August 10, 2017

Uber's ousted chief executive and company founder Travis Kalanick is asking for the dismissal of an investor lawsuit against him, calling it part of a personal attack aimed at sidelining him.

Uber board spat over ex-chief Kalanick goes public

August 15, 2017

A bitter fight over control of Uber has intensified in recent days with warring factions battling over the future role, if any, of ousted chief executive Travis Kalanick at the global rideshare titan.

Uber CEO Kalanick resigns under pressure (Update)

June 21, 2017

Uber's embattled chief executive Travis Kalanick has resigned, yielding to pressure from investors seeking to clean up a toxic corporate culture at the fast-growing ridesharing group.

Recommended for you

Pushing lithium ion batteries to the next performance level

December 13, 2018

Conventional lithium ion batteries, such as those widely used in smartphones and notebooks, have reached performance limits. Materials chemist Freddy Kleitz from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna and international ...

Uber filed paperwork for IPO: report

December 8, 2018

Ride-share company Uber quietly filed paperwork this week for its initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.