Uber plans to obscure your pick-up and drop-off locations
But it begs the question: How much does your ridesharing app know about you?
Uber will be launching a pilot program soon that will obscure Uber users’ exact pick-up and drop-off locations from the history section of the app that drivers can access, Gizmodo reported. The change is intended to enhance privacy for Uber users and comes in the wake of various “creepy” situations reported by female riders.
“The new design provides enough information for drivers to identify past trips for customer support issues or earning disputes without granting them ongoing access to rider addresses,” an Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo.
Uber’s new upgrade begs the question: How much do rideshare apps know about you?
What Uber currently tracks
- Information you provide, including your address, banking and payment information, date of birth, email address, full name, government ID numbers, login name, password, phone number and photo.
- Location data through data such as GPS, IP address and Wi-Fi.
- Transaction information, including how much you were charged and how far you traveled.
- Device information, such as the devices you use to access Uber’s services.
- Calls and text messages where “Uber receives some information regarding the calls or texts, including the date and time of the call/text and the content of the text messages.”
- Address book and calendar information where once you’ve opted in, you’ll be giving Uber access to calendar information like event descriptions, time, dates and locations, and if you RSVP’d.
How the changes will affect drivers and riders
The pilot program will take effect once Uber finishes the rollout of its new driver app, which Uber announced on April 10, 2018. The new app was “built for drivers, with drivers 一 designed to meet their needs on every moment of their journey”.
The new app will provide drivers with an on-screen earnings tracker, a status bar telling drivers about market conditions and possible fares in their immediate area, and a notification feature that allows the driver to “see messages about upcoming earning opportunities, feedback from their riders and information about their accounts”.
For riders, the new app will provide driver profiles, which “allows riders to learn more about their driver and find new ways to connect”.
The issue of data security goes further than just the rideshare apps and is finding its way into our everyday vehicles. For example, Hyundai recently announced a partnership with Verisk that will allow Hyundai to offer its customers usage-based insurance. While this usage-based info rewards drivers with good driving records, it does present some issues that will need to be addressed.
Top level, there is always the issue of data security when you’re placing your personal data in the hands of a corporation. More pointedly, there is the issue of ownership: Who owns the driving data? Do you? The car manufacturer? What about the third party that designed the software? Will the data be portable, and will you be able to opt in so that this data can be shared with another insurer?
As new driving and GPS technology continues to bring up new questions about data, drivers and passengers should stay aware of their privacy and what’s happening with their data.