How Uber is Taking Your Privacy for a Ride

You can share this, including by text message!

  • How Uber is Taking Your Privacy for a Ride

Some are calling it Ubergate. Still others call it the reason they will no longer use the Uber service (fortunately there are alternatives to Uber, like Lyft in the U.S., and Hailo in the UK and Ireland). First there was Uber’s ‘Rides of Glory’ (i.e. rides of shame), then came the alleged threat of an “opposition research plan” against journalists to spend $1 million to dig up information on “your personal lives, your families.” And thus #Ubergate was born.

The bottom line is that Uber has amassed a massive amount of private data, and it wasn’t afraid to use it.

First came the ill-thought-out blog post about Rides of Glory (i.e. rides of shame, like the walk of shame). To put it bluntly, Uber was mining its data to determine who was Ubering to and from one-night stands.

Said Uber, in that blog post, “One of the neat things we can do with our data is discover rider patterns: are there weekend riders that only use Uber post-party? What about the workday commuters who use us every morning? It was while playing around with this idea of (blind!) rider segmentation that we came up with the Ride of Glory (RoG).”

Now sure, they say it was blind, but they also know if you are sleeping, they know when you’re awake.

 

They went on to say that “A RoGer {Ed. note: a further unfortunate term, dontcha think?} is anyone who took a ride between 10pm and 4am on a Friday or Saturday night, and then took a second ride from within 1/10th of a mile of the previous nights’ drop-off point 4-6 hours later (enough for a quick night’s sleep).”

uber rides of glory chart

Now, Uber has since deleted that article, but it lives on thanks to the Internet Archives, so you can still see Uber’s Rides of Glory post here, in all its..uh…glory.

But far more distrubing, especially when you couple it with the above claim that their data delving was “blind”, is the alleged threat made by Uber’s Senior VP of Business, Emil Michael, to spend $1million to dig into the “personal lives” and “families” of journalists who have the gall to write negatively about Uber.

No Paywall Here! The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:

(Article continues below)
Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles for free!
Or Read Internet Patrol Articles Right in Your Inbox!
as Soon as They are Published! Only $1 a Month!

Imagine being able to read full articles right in your email, or on your phone, without ever having to click through to the website unless you want to! Just $1 a month and you can cancel at any time!
How Uber is Taking Your Privacy for a Ride

In particular, he was directing these remarks to journalist Sarah Lacy, whose column alleging sexism at Uber had apparently resulted in women deleting the Uber app from their phones.

A BuzzFeed journalist happened to be at the dinner at which Michael made the alleged threat, and in a follow-up article on BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith says that “At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted. Then he returned to the opposition research plan. Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life. Michael at no point suggested that Uber has actually hired opposition researchers, or that it plans to. He cast it as something that would make sense, that the company would be justified in doing.” (Read Ben Smith’s full BuzzFeed article on Emil Michael and Uber here)

And as if this isn’t enough, earlier this year it came to light that Uber was having contractors crank call competitor Lyft, and then, of course, there is the infamous [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead], which has led to people being charged as much as $411 for a ten-mile ride and $539 for an 18-mile ride.

All of this spells trouble (but apparently not doom) for the beleagured Uber.

Personally, we’ll stick with regular taxis or Lyft, in the U.S., and Hailo in Ireland and the U.K..

  
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!

How Uber is Taking Your Privacy for a Ride

Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles!

You can share this, including by text message!

  • How Uber is Taking Your Privacy for a Ride

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *