24/7 Tracking in Uber App Update Threatens Users' Privacy: Federal Compliant - NBC Southern California

24/7 Tracking in Uber App Update Threatens Users' Privacy: Federal Compliant



    New Uber Policy Would Track Users

    A group of privacy advocates have filed a federal complaint against the rideshare company, saying a tracking feature in its new update threatens users' rights. Mekahlo Medino reports from Silver Lake for NBC4's News at Noon on Monday, June 22, 2015. (Published Monday, June 22, 2015)

    Just days away from Uber implementing a new privacy policy, privacy advocates have filed a federal compliant claiming the ridesharing company will track users even when they aren't using the app.

    According to the new policy, set to be introduced on July 15, Uber will be able to keep track of users' location data when the app is closed and a smartphone's GPS is disabled. Additionally, the app will collect customers' contact details to send "special offers to riders' friends and family."

    EPIC submitted the complaint Monday morning to the Federal Trade Commission, requesting an investigation into Uber's business practices.

    The complaint states that the policy change will "threaten the privacy rights and personal safety of American consumers."

    Uber Drivers Ruled Employees

    [LA] Uber Drivers Ruled Employees
    The California Labor Commission has ruled that an Uber driver should be considered a company employee, not an independent contractor. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.
    (Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015)

    EPIC isn't alone in its concern for the privacy of consumers. Uber users are calling the app "creepy" and confused about the app's tracking system.

    "I don't know of anyone who wants to be tracked," said Uber user and Silver Lake resident Philip Eastend. "It's a scary thing when it comes down to the invasion of privacy."

    Despite the negative backlash, Katherine Tassi, managing counsel of data privacy at Uber, said in a blog post in May that the platform "cares deeply about the privacy of our riders and drivers" and that the firm did not plan to start tracking location and accessing contacts immediately.

    Nonetheless, groups like EPIC believe that having to opt-out of features places an unnecessary burden on the customer. iPhone users have the chance to opt out of individual privacy features while Android users cannot.

    Uber has not yet commented on EPIC's complaint to the FTC.

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