Why Uber’s Digging Into Your Personal Data, and How to Stop Them

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Why Uber’s Digging Into Your Personal Data, and How to Stop Them


If you’re a user of the ridesharing app Uber, you might be surprised to know just how much the company knows about you, thanks to their updated privacy policy. For example, the app will now continue to track a rider’s position even after the ride has ended and the rider has left the car.

If this policy sounds a little too Big Brother-like to you, you aren’t alone. Even when Uber announced the change in May of 2015, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (or EPIC) was quick to petition that the US Federal Trade Commission put the kibosh on the intended initiative.

However, with the update to version 3.222.4, Uber now has the ability to track its passengers in real time, whether or not the app is active, in addition to the company’s new ability to access the user’s address book.

Uber has also provided its apparent reasons for the changes. The background location tracking is apparently to allow for more efficient pickups than the former verbal communications.The post-ride tracking feature is meant to improve customer safety by encouraging drivers to have their fares disembark on the same side of the street as their destination, preventing the need of risky street crossings.

Uber also cited an easier method of splitting ride fees between passengers as their reasoning for accessing a user’s address book contacts.

The planned implementation had already drawn the ire of the service’s users back when it was announced, comments ranging from “I will not use it again” to “That could be a useful resource for the police, FBI, NSA, hackers, etc.,” to “I do not wish to be responsible for putting the privacy of my friends and family at risk.” In their fairly lengthy and comprehensive complaint, EPIC calls many of Uber’s other questionable implementations into question as well.

Regardless, it is still possible to deny Uber’s access to your location by following these steps on your Android device.

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Select Apps
  • Select Uber
  • Navigate to Permission
  • Toggle Location to Off

So, what’s your impression on Uber’s self-provided permissions? Do you feel that they are warranted, or are they an invasion of the user’s privacy? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Remember, it’s really important to understand the value of your identity, and to know when it’s good to share your personal information and when it’s dangerous. If you ever have concerns, or want to take steps to protect your information, give Resolve I.T. a call at (978) 993-8038.