Uber Promises to Stop Spying on Customers After Government Order

16 August, 2017, 12:53 | Author: Cecelia Webb
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Now, Uber has accepted a Federal Trade Commission ruling that will force the company to revamp its privacy protocols and upgrade its customer data handling procedures, while also being audited regularly for the next 20 years.

In addition, the FTC alleged that Uber was at fault for the May 2014 data breach that saw an intruder gain access to to more than 100,000 names and driver's license numbers stored on a third-party cloud provider operated by Amazon.

FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a conference call Tuesday that the commission opened the investigation following reports in 2014 Uber was "improperly accessing consumer data".

The settlement between the ride hailing company and the federal agency is just the latest wrinkle in the long saga over Uber's repeated privacy failures. The program must "address privacy risks related to new and existing products and services for consumers", as well as "protect the privacy and confidentiality of personal information", the FTC's order reads. Uber developed an automated system for monitoring employee access to customer information in December, but it wasn't created to handle the capacity of requests, according to the FTC complaint.

Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to two decades of audits after U.S. regulators found the ride-services company failed to protect the personal information of drivers and passengers and deceived the public about efforts to prevent snooping by its employees.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged Uber did not, as it claimed, monitor employee access to customer and driver data. However, if Uber violates the order that's now in place, it could be subject to civil penalties in the future.

Uber has reached a settlement with the USA government following charges it "deceived customers" by not properly protecting their private information.

"We are pleased to bring the FTC's investigation to a close", an Uber spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Uber's "God View" software, which some employees reportedly had used to track the real-time locations of passengers including politicians, celebrities like Beyonce, and even ex-girlfriends, was a key FTC concern.

The settlement reflects Uber's latest attempt to move past a series of crises, including an internal probe of sexual harassment allegations, the departure of CEO Travis Kalanick and other top executives and a high-stakes lawsuit over its autonomous vehicle designs. "It's going to make them take privacy into account every day".

The FTC also said Uber failed to implement basic security practices, such as two-factor authentication, that could have kept Uber's driver data from leaking.

"This settlement provides an opportunity to work with the FTC to further verify that our programs protect user privacy and personal information", he said.


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