One month ago, the highest-valued private company in the world, with a valuation of $68 billion, Uber got in trouble with privacy advocate when it was revealed that the ride-hailing company can now track its passengers' locations after they are dropped off and even when their app has been closed. As revealed in a new update to Uber's app, the global taxi service could collect passenger data up to five minutes after a journey has finished.
On its website Uber said: 'Uber collects your location data from the time of trip request through five minutes after the trip ends, including when the app is in the background.
The firm defended itself by saying that the data will cut down on the frustrating back-and-forth often experienced by customers, as drivers try to ascertain exactly where their passengers are.
And while mobile apps tracking every habit of its users is hardly new, a new twist emerged this morning, when Uber sent out a notification to its users, accusing none other than New York City of demanding that it hand over all its "sensitive" passenger info data, including "where you’re dropped off, as well" in an attempt to "to piece together the full details of every trip you ever take," a move which creates "serious privacy risks."
From the email sent to clients:
Today, New York City requires Uber and other companies to hand over a lot of sensitive personal passenger data, including where you're picked up on every trip. Now, New York City wants more. They're trying to force companies to tell them where you’re dropped off, as well.
In other words, they want to piece together the full details of every trip you ever take. Several independent privacy experts have said this policy creates "serious privacy risks." And that it would give the government "and anyone else who accesses this information a comprehensive, 360-degree view into the movements and habits of individual New Yorkers." Click below to send a clear message that enough is enough.
Yours is the most powerful voice in this debate. We need your help. New York City doesn’t need this data and they’ve shown in the past that they cannot prevent it from becoming public.
Considering that the government is already in the process of launching it own "Ministry of Truth" to crack down on opposing media viewpoints, we don't find this latest attempt of government and municipal overreach surprising at all.