If you’ve been following the articles posted here over the past year or so you probably noticed that a number of them had to do with Uber.
And there’s a good reason for that.
At Teddy’s we have always been focused on industry safety: both for our clients specifically, and for all passengers of limos and taxis across the tri-state area in general. Which is why ANY news with respect to our industry is worth sharing with you here.
Passenger privacy IS a safety issue
Of course you can click the link to read the full article, but I’ll summarize the main points here and then weigh in on why passenger privacy is a safety issue.
Essentially, they use precise location data about your trip thru the app used by the driver. However, Uber is also collecting your location data from YOUR smart phone. In fact, Uber states that “we may also collect the precise location of your device when the app is running in the foreground or background. We may also derive your approximate location from your IP address.”
Which means, whether you’re running your app — or NOT — Uber is tracking your location.
In response EPIC, a non-profit privacy rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking the FTC to stop this “unfair and deceptive data collection practices” which Uber plans to impose on customers starting in mid-July.
So what’s the big deal?
After all, many apps track location data, such as my acuweather app, among others. So how is this different?
It comes down to three main issues…
- how easy is it to disable or opt out of tracking data
- who has access to this data
- how will the data be used
A while ago I wrote a piece that focused on the main issue with ride sharing apps… and it concerns the driver who comes to (eventually) pick you up. You have no way of knowing if they are properly licensed and insured, nor do you know anything about their background.
And that’s a safety issue.
According to the EPIC complaint andriod phones will not be able to disable Uber’s tracking set up. As for access to the data, there’s a big difference between the acuweather app showing weather conditions for the town I happen to be in, and a driver or drivers possibly knowing my whereabouts simply because one time I rode in his or her car.
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