Uber is the nation’s largest ride-sharing company. You can get a ride in over 60 cities and become a taxi driver too. Because the model circumvents typical government and business obstacles and allows individuals the ability to draw extra income, it has been a boon to free market and entrepreneur admirers.
Unfortunately, the admiration bumps up against hesitation with fears of surveillance and tracking via its state-of-the-art software. That technology may have led to a $200+ million investment by Google last year. It was rumored that the investment would go towards expansion into person-to-person delivery service, but so far those dreams are unrealized.
Newsfactor has just reported:
In a 23-page complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Privacy Information Center called for the agency to investigate Uber and halt possible privacy invasions ahead of a revised policy set to take effect July 15.
Uber adamantly denies the charge and says that the complaint has “no basis” and “that users would ‘be in control’ of how they release personal information.”
The company promised that the privacy statement would be simpler, easier to read and clearly state the users’ privacy boundaries as far as data collection goes.
But if there is a basis to EPIC’s complaint, than it is a big one. Newsfactor continues:
EPIC also claims that Uber will be able to access passenger’s contact lists, which it could use to send out promotional ads.
…According to EPIC, Uber tracked the location of journalists reporting on the company who had used its app, and one employee shared that data within the company. Other employees had turned on “God View,” an internal program, to track customers without their knowledge.
The FTC, so far, remains silent on any further action. Uber stands by the software and user-privacy. It acknowledges the software’s potential for tracking and gathering data like contact lists but says that it remains with the users to allow permission to access that data or not. How that user-control takes place is a mystery until July 15.
What is your prediction? Is Uber a victim of free market circumstance and remains for the people, or is it becoming a new arm of corpramental Big Brother? Do you trust them?