Consumer Fraud

Uber agrees to $20K in fines due to poor consumer privacy practices; data breach

UBER flickr image 375x210 Uber agrees to $20K in fines due to poor consumer privacy practices; data breachAfter running into some driver-related privacy issues in 2014, popular ride-hailing company Uber has come to an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to pay a penalty of $20,000 and revise its privacy practices.

The fines serve as backlash for the alleged misuse of Uber’s “God-View,” which serves as an administrative tracking tool allowing employees to view every Uber car and passenger on the road aerially. The abuse came to light after one BuzzFeed reporter was tracked by an Uber executive using the God-View tool in 2014.

An investigation into God-View and Uber’s privacy practices was launched by Schneiderman in November 2014. Shortly after the investigation announcement, Uber informed Scheniderman in February 2015 that the company had also suffered a data breach back in September 2014 when an Uber engineer accidentally posted an Access ID for the company’s third-party cloud storage in early 2014. As a result, the database, which held private driver information for the company, was accessed by someone unrelated to Uber.

Schneiderman released the following statement in regards to the Uber privacy settlement:

“This settlement protects the personal information of Uber riders from potential abuse by company executives and staff, including the real-time locations of riders in an Uber vehicle. We are committed to protecting the privacy of consumers and customers of any product in New York State, as well as that of employees of any company operating here. I strongly encourage all technology companies to regularly review and amend their own policies and procedures to better protect their customers’ and employees’ private information.”

Upon accepting the attorney general’s penalties, Uber also released a statement to the media expressing how it plans to better handle consumer privacy in the future:

“We are deeply committed to protecting the privacy and personal data of riders and drivers. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General that resolves these questions and makes clear our commitment to best practices that put our community first.”

Computer World
BuzzFeed News