TWENTY FIRST CENTURY TAXI FIRM Uber is in trouble again, this time for a privacy oversight that is capturing its punters moves even after they have stumbled out of one its vehicles and into whatever place they were aiming themselves at.
The Telegraph has stumbled on this, though it seems that Uber makes it clear in the information that it throws up at update time. We know what that information is like though, and it is often unread.
Anyway, when the app is installed, the message (below) will pop up. It should sound alarm bells in your head, but if you are drunk they might not bother you too much.
It is pretty clear and it makes clear that you can turn it off. If you miss it, and you do not turn it off, someone at Uber may come to know your habits very well.
This means that if they are the vindictive type and come to predict your moves, leaving places just moments before you do, just so that they can be in front of you in a queue making a complicated order and paying slowly with pocket change.
They may also have the table next to yours, if this is a restaurant scenario, and spend the entire meal braying and eating loudly and generally ruining your evening.
It also means of course that it is information that the intelligence agencies, and other nefarious parties, could get their hands on and exploit in other less obviously bothersome ways.
Like an Uber driver flashing its lights and beeping its horn we should have seen this coming. Uber announced that it would be making the changes last year and the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) group immediately opposed it by taking a complaint to the American Federal Trade Commission (PDF).
"Uber will claim the right to collect personal contact information and detailed location data of American consumers, even when they are not using the service," said EPIC then.
"These changes ignore the FTC's prior decisions, threaten the privacy rights and personal safety of American consumers, ignore past bad practices of the company involving the misuse of location data, pose a direct risk of consumer harm, and constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice subject to investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."
Uber told the Telegraph that the feature is supposed to improve things for its users. Seems fair.
"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," it said.
"Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we're asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals." µ
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