Using the Uber service is quite convenient, and its automated checkout system makes the whole ordeal a lot more comfortable, but there are certain caveats to using these types of services. For example, most Uber users allow the app to keep tracking their location, even when the app is not actively running. What does the Company do with this data, and whom do they sell it to?
Uber Is Spying On Users, But They Don’t Mind
In this day and age of widespread mobile app usage, it is hard to keep track of which service provider is capturing what type of information. For Uber, that is quite simple to explain: the app uses GPS logging for all users at all times–that is, unless, they opt out of the tracking experience, which most people don’t do.
This new feature has only been implemented recently, but it does actually track users once their ride is over. According to Company officials, this new feature will help Uber improve their service, as well as gain valuable information as to where next pickups might need to occur. This sounds plausible on paper, but that is not the major concern that people should have.
Although the app only tracks users for five minutes after the ride has ended (according to Uber, that is), they collect sensitive information that can potentially be sold to third parties. So far it appears that Uber has no plans to sell this information, but that doesn’t mean the situation won’t change in the years to come.
Uber explained this new feature as follows:
“We’re always thinking about ways we can improve the rider experience from sharpening our ETA estimates to identifying the best pick up location on any given street. Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we’re asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals.”
Although users may not be too amused by this new feature, it is possible to turn it off. Disabling location services through the device settings is more than enough to opt-out of this “experience”. Whether or not most users will even go through that small amount of trouble remains anybody’s guess right now.
Uber is not doing anything illegal, as this change was announced almost a year ago. App surveillance is valuable to the Company, as they can use the location data to punish drivers not doing their job, for example. This breach of use privacy however, sets a very dangerous precedent for other economy-based sharing applications in the future.
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