To date, Uber has shared ride data and trip patterns of over 14 million App Users with government agencies. Tech Crunch recently dissected a “Transparency Report” published by Uber in response to requests from users as to whether their personal information, or ride trip patterns, were provided to the government in any form. Privacy is always a concern to app users, however, on many occasions apps collect users’ credit card, debit card, contact lists, cell phone pictures, track locations, and provide this cached info to the government. Uber has since attempted to show transparency in their report, and also claims that the information provided was either required disclosures or in response to government agency requests. As claimed in Uber’s statement, this information was shared in response to official requests from government regulatory agencies (such as departments of transportation or public utility commission), or law enforcement agencies. Tech Crunch Article: Uber Shared 14 Million Users’ Info with the Government. The report has been published and made available here: UBER TRANSPARENCY REPORT.
In response to concerns about protecting ride/app user’s privacy and personal information, the ride-share app commented that the information provided to the government was either required, or in response to “blanket requests without explaining why the information is needed, or how it will be used.” Uber actually released the transparency report in response to criticism over right to privacy concerns and user’s complaints and worries about sharing their private information (considering that many app users have personal debit cards or credit cards synced with the app).
Law enforcement requests make up only a small portion of the total number revealed by Uber — 469 in total from state and federal agencies. Uber says most of the data sent to law enforcement is for investigations into credit card theft and fraud. The company also introduced a “warrant canary” into its transparency report, stating that, as of today, it has not received a National Security Letter or FISA court order.
A quick view of the report shows that no one from Boston or Massachusetts seems to be affected. However, this could change since law enforcement could catch wind of the App, and other Apps, that collect location and personal information/pattern data.