Uber’s revised privacy policies are more transparent and clearer than ever. The revision comes after recent criticism faced by the company which then hired law firm Hogan Lovells to perform a review of Uber’s privacy policies. The law firm counselled Uber to make the policy shorter as well as take away the clutter of legal jargon, which Uber subsequently did with the revision. The law firm also advised Uber to improve training among drivers, employee accountability and company disclosures. The revised policy is available in the 57 countries Uber operates in and has been translated to 23 different languages.
“Uber began implementing the recommendations from Hogan Lovells immediately after we received them,” Kristin Carvell, a company spokeswoman, said. “For example, we have continued to reinforce access controls, doubled the size of our privacy team, formalised our data-protection training for employees and made our privacy policies easier to understand.”
Here’s what Uber can/will collect from its riders:
- Location: Riders can now be tracked by Uber even when the app is running in the background. Uber could also feasibly use the rider’s IP location to arrive at the location.
- Contacts: Uber can access the rider’s entire phone book to record and store contact information and names to send offers and help with its ‘social interactions.’ “We may also seek permission for our app’s collection and syncing of contact information from your device per the permission system used by your mobile operating system. If you initially permit the collection of this information, iOS users can later disable it by changing the contacts settings on your mobile device. The Android platform does not provide such a setting,” says Uber in a blog post.
- Transaction Details. This includes the category of Uber rides that a rider prefers over the other, the distance, date and time during which a ride was taken as well as the fee charged and more.
- Device data: Information relating to your mobile device and manufacturer, model, operating system, software versions, preferred local language, serial number and more are now obtainable by Uber.
- Call, SMS and Log information: IP address, app crashes, preferred browser, web pages viewed along with time and date of call of message, the phone numbers involved and the content of the SMS can be looked into by Uber.
While the new policy is shorter by 3000 words, there is more user data that can be collected by Uber, as explained above and the same is made very clear in its revised policy.
Uber is also making changes in its driver app, allowing riders to see their own ratings as per their riding history with the company.