Uber’s Privacy Policy Update Is A Doozy

In my humble opinion… Someone at Uber is on some heavy stuff and it has severely impaired their judgement.

What I’m Talking About

Okay, the new thing is the update to their security policy that’s slated to roll out on July 15th.  The update will allow Uber to track your whereabouts, not simply when you have the app up and are actively using it, but even when the app is running in the background.  It will also want access to your contacts list.  Why?  To send “special offers” to your people.  Because that’s what your friends and family want, Uber texts.

It’s important to note that you can opt out of both of these permissions, should you be aware of them and decline them.  So share this info with the people you know who Uber, guys.  I sure will be…

Not The First Time?!

That Uber has made a bit of a misstep?  Not even close.  There was the “God View” fiasco where several people, journalists no less, reported being tracked.  One was confronted at her location by Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber New York who simply stated that he’d tracked her to her location and pointed to his iPhone.  You can read about that here.

Then there was the report of Uber tracking your hook ups.  They stated that they did this by “tracking customers who re-use the service within a short time frame near the previous night’s drop-off point”, nicknamed the Ride of Glory (you know, the opposite of the Walk of Shame, supposedly).  I’m going to be honest, that’s rather creepy.  They released statistics on this stuff, people.  Boston is apparently getting biz-ay, and people hook up more around tax day and less around valentines day.  Did I want to know this about you guys?  Noooo, but I do now!

Their Security is Scary…

Oh, lessie…

There was the issue where part of the Los Angeles are lost and found database was publicly viewable.  The fact that information that is supposed to be erased after a few minutes in regards to the drivers isn’t being (the article that I read said they were able to go back to a ride from a month ago, when the information is supposed to be erased “shortly”), and some riders are using this to stalk and harass female Uber drivers (this is rather terrifying, so I’m going to post to the article for those who want more info – Uber’s lost-and-found system makes stalking female drivers frighteningly easy).  Then there was the debut event in 2011 where Uber displayed to their audience a map of NYC, that contained as many as 30 well-known New Yorkers and their locations as they were tracked, live and in living color.

Then there is this gem, via BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith:

“Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press—they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.”

And this, in response to an column written by Sarah Lacy that you can read here:

“At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted.”

What the actual hell.

And In Conclusion


Anyway, Uber set up a mailbox for handling any questions you guys might have about this issue.  Might want to make not of it: privacy@uber.com

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