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Uber, facing public backlash, will rethink privacy

Zach Miners | Nov. 21, 2014
The company is working with a DC law firm to assess its policies.

Lawyers are likely to first home in on how Uber handles individual people's data in an attempt to curb abuse, said Andrew Crocker, a legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"You can infer that Uber is taking this seriously and they recognize people are upset," he said in an interview.

Whether Uber can repair the damage around its public image is another question. Some users have since said they've deleted the Uber app from their phones, but the convenience of Uber's service might outweigh privacy concerns for other people.

Privacy concerns routinely surface among users of services like Facebook and Google. But Uber is in a different situation, with executives allegedly taking an interest in people's private lives and geolocation, for reasons that are questionable at best and unethical at worst.

It's these sorts of issues that lawyers are likely to focus on within the confines of Uber's practices, EFF's Crocker said.

Broader issues around Uber's data collection and the use of data are important, "but more front of mind now are these individual incidents and anecdotes," he said, adding, "they're definitely in damage control mode now."

 

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