Uber and Other Tech Firms Know Lots About You — Should You Worry?
by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
Uber has a privacy problem — and so do the vast majority of companies whose businesses collect sensitive data about their customers.
Uber knows when and where its users go each time they summon a car. Amid intense criticism over revelations that the company has sometimes used that information to snoop on VIPs and journalists, Uber said Thursday that it has brought in outside experts to audit its privacy policies and vowed to follow their advice.
“Our business depends on the trust of the millions of riders and drivers who use Uber,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The trip history of our riders is important information and we understand that we must treat it carefully and with respect, protecting it from unauthorized access.”
Uber referred requests for comments to the blog post.
Uber’s situation underscores a lack of comprehensive privacy protections throughout the technology industry, experts said.
“We’ve built a remarkably complex digital economy, and so much of our lives are being lived through it, but we haven’t let the laws catch up,” said Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University, whose book “Intellectual Privacy” will be published in January by Oxford Press.