Menu
US Senator Al Franken questions Uber's privacy policies

US Senator Al Franken questions Uber's privacy policies

Franken questions Uber's so-called 'God view' data tool

U.S. Senator Al Franken has waded into the latest controversy surrounding Uber, asking the car service app company pointed questions about its privacy policies.

The Minnesota senator and longtime comedian wrote in a letter to Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick that he is concerned about a "troubling disregard for customers' privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data."

Writing as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, Franken referred to a tool that apparently lets some Uber employees track the location of customers that have requested car service.

"To whom is the so-called 'God view' tool made available and why?" Franken asked. "What steps are you taking to limit access?"

Franken raises 10 questions in the letter, which focuses on revelations that Uber executive Emil Michael suggested the company might try to dig up dirt on journalists who have been critical of it.

While an Uber spokeswoman has said such actions would violate the company's policies, Franken asked why Michael does not heed them and whether he was disciplined, as well as whether any other employee has been punished for violating Uber's privacy policies.

Franken also questioned how Uber handles sensitive information including accessing the data for "legitimate business purposes," as Uber has characterized in its privacy policy. He also wonders why customer information is apparently retained even after an account is terminated.

"Uber has a strict policy prohibiting all employees at every level from accessing a rider or drivers data," Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian wrote in a company blog post on Tuesday. "The only exception to this policy is for a limited set of legitimate business purposes. Our policy has been communicated to all employees and contractors."

The blog post followed a report on Buzzfeed that said Michael made comments at a New York dinner suggesting Uber could target a critical female journalist. Sarah Lacy, a technology writer who was the apparent target of this plan, wrote that Michael has since apologized.

Franken wrote that he expects answers from Uber by Dec. 15. Uber could not be immediately reached for comment.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags UberInternet-based applications and servicesgovernmentinternetUber Technologies

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments