To reform its image, Uber ends privacy-invasive app feature

Uber Technologies Inc. is expected to announce the end of an app feature that allows the company to track riders for up to five minutes after a trip. Karen Levy, professor of information science at Cornell University, studies how law and technology interact to regulate social life, with a particular focus on social and organizational aspects of surveillance. She says the company’s expected change to its app will give users more control over their privacy and help Uber rehabilitate its public image.


Levy says:

“Uber’s policy change fits within its broader efforts to reform its culture and leadership. The tracking feature that Uber is discontinuing raised hackles among privacy advocates, because it gave Uber very detailed information about users’ whereabouts and failed to give users the option to turn it off without losing a lot of the app’s functionality.

“Uber is trying hard to rehabilitate its public image after a long series of very public privacy and discrimination-related crises, both within the company and with its communities of drivers and riders. Uber still has a long way to go in this respect, but this change is positive in terms of giving users more control over their privacy.”


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