Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Uber pulls controversial feature that allowed passengers to be tracked for five minutes AFTER their journey


• The change restores users' ability to share location data only while using the app. 

• The change is to be rolled out to Apple iPhone users starting this week. 

• Uber is trying to fix its poor reputation for customer privacy. 

• Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia is set to become Uber's new chief exec. 

Uber is pulling a heavily criticised feature from its app that allowed it to track riders for up to five minutes after a trip, according to a new report.

The change, which restores users' ability to share location data only while using the app, is to be rolled out to Apple iPhone users starting this week.

It comes as Uber tries to recover from a series of crises culminating in the dismissal of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and other top executives while the company tries to fix its poor reputation for customer privacy.

An update to the app made last November eliminated the option for users to limit data gathering to only when the app is in use, instead forcing them to choose between letting Uber always collect location data or never collect it.

Uber said it needed permission to always gather data in order to track riders for five minutes after a trip was completed, which the company believed could help in ensuring customers' physical safety. 

The option to never track required riders to manually enter pickup and drop-off addresses.

But the changes were met with swift criticism by some users and privacy advocates who called them a breach of user trust by a company already under fire for how it collects and uses customers' data. 

Uber said it never actually began post-trip tracking for iPhone users and suspended it for Android users.

Security Officer Joe Sullivan said Uber made a mistake by asking for more information from users without making clear what value Uber would offer in return.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of travel-booking company Expedia is set to become Uber's new chief executive, sources have told Reuters.

The location-tracking update is unrelated to executive changes, said Joe Sullivan, Uber´s chief security officer, in an interview with Reuters. 

Mr Sullivan and his team of about 500 have been working to beef up customer privacy at Uber since he joined in 2015.

'We´ve been building through the turmoil and challenges because we already had our mandate,' said Mr Sullivan, who is a member of the executive leadership team that has been co-running Uber since Kalanick left in June.

An update to the app made last November eliminated the option for users to limit data gathering to only when the app is in use, instead forcing them to choose between letting Uber always collect location data or never collect it.

Uber said it needed permission to always gather data in order to track riders for five minutes after a trip was completed, which the company believed could help in ensuring customers' physical safety. 

The option to never track required riders to manually enter pickup and drop-off addresses.

But the changes were met with swift criticism by some users and privacy advocates who called them a breach of user trust by a company already under fire for how it collects and uses customers' data. 


Source : Daily Mail 

No comments: