Privacy Group Files FTC Complaint Against Uber

As if Uber didn’t have enough challenges, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the FTC against Uber.  EPIC says, in it’s complaint, that Uber’s new privacy policy allows Uber to collect precise customer location information, even if the app is running in the background or the customer has turned off their GPS location finder.  EPIC also objects to the fact that, if the user allows it, Uber can access the user’s address book and use the names and contact information it finds there (see article).

Uber, in responding to the complaint, says that there is no basis for the complaint – that they have always done this; they are just making sure that people know what they are doing.

It seems to me that saying that they have always done this – just without clearly telling people they were doing it – is not exactly helping their case.

Uber also said that users will be able users will be able to choose whether they share their data later by opting out.  Uber, of course, is counting on users not knowing how to do that and not doing that.

EPIC says that while users on iPhones can opt out, there is no way for Android users to opt out at all.  EPIC also says that forcing users to opt out puts an extra burden on the user.

Uber says that they want your contact information so that they can spam your friends and family.  Really.  They said that.  They didn’t use that word, but that’s is what they are proposing to do.

The complaint asks the FTC to direct Uber to stop collecting data not needed to provision the service that the customer asks for.

A copy of the actual complaint is available in the link above.

Who knows how long it will take the FTC to respond, but when they do, I will write about it.

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