Uber Data Collection Changes Should Be Barred, Privacy Group Urges

by Natasha Singer and Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

A leading privacy rights group wants the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit Uber from instituting changes to its privacy policy that the group says will allow the ride-hailing app to collect more detailed data about customers’ whereabouts and use their contact lists to send their friends promotional pitches.

The move by the nonprofit research group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, is likely to garner the attention of Washington regulators and privacy watchdogs in the coming weeks, as Uber’s changes are scheduled to take effect July 15.

In a letter sent to the agency on Monday morning, the group, which is known as EPIC and is based in Washington, said that Uber had “a history of abusing the location data of its customers.” EPIC said in its complaint that the coming changes were unfair, deceptive and posed a “direct risk” of consumer harm.

“A company that has a bad reputation for misusing personal information should not be allowed to change its policy so it can gather more data,” Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of EPIC, said in a phone interview.

Uber on Monday said in a statement that there was “no basis for this complaint.”

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