Uber revises privacy policy, wants more data from users

The company will now, with users' permission, access rider's data when its app runs in the background

Uber's logo

Uber's logo

Uber Technologies is revising its privacy policy to allow it to access a rider's location when its smartphone app is running in the background, and to send special offers to users' friends and family.

Users will be in control in either case, and will be able to choose whether to share that data with the ride-hailing company, wrote Katherine Tassi, managing counsel of data privacy at Uber in a blog post Thursday.

The company has faced criticism in the past over how it handles sensitive information, particularly over its so-called "God view" tool that apparently lets some Uber employees track the location of customers that have requested car service. U.S. Senator Al Franken wrote to Uber last year for information on its privacy policy, including on measures taken to limit access to the tool.

Uber's new policy for both riders and drivers goes into effect July 15, and follows a review by law firm Hogan Lovells, which recommended simplifying existing policies to make them easier to understand. It is available in 23 languages, covering most of the languages spoken in the 57 countries where Uber operates. The new privacy statements are "half as long as before, with much less legal jargon," Tassi wrote.

Under the proposed privacy statements, Uber will use its app to collect the precise location of the user's device when the app is running in the foreground or background, if the app is allowed to access location services through permissions in the mobile OS. The company may also arrive at the approximate location of the user from his IP address.

This information will be collected in addition to precise location data about a trip collected from the Uber app used by the driver when a rider uses the service. Disabling the collection by the app of precise location data from the device will also not limit the company's ability to derive approximate location from the rider's IP address.

Uber will also ask for access to the address book on customers' devices, again through the permission system on the mobile platform. It said it may access and store names and contact information from user address books to "facilitate social interactions" through its services and for other purposes.

The company needs these permissions to be able to offer newer services and features, such as ordering food through UberEATs, Tassi said.

Uber will also collect ride transaction details, information on calls and SMS messages between drivers and users, device information, information on how users and site visitors interact with its services, and log in information when using services. It may also collect information from other sources which the rider uses to interact with Uber services, such as linked Facebook and Google Wallet accounts.

The company retains permission to hand over customer data to third parties like vendors, marketing partners and law enforcement officials under certain circumstances.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityprivacyinternetInternet-based applications and servicesUber Technologies

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?