Uber can take you somewhere, could it also take advantage of your personal information?
By Yuze Chen | March 7, 2020
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
What Data does Uber Collects
According to Uber’s Privacy Notice, Uber collects a variety of data including three main aspects: Data provided by user, such as username, email, address, etc; Data created when using Uber services, such as user’s location, app usage and device data; Data from other sources, such as Uber partners who provide data to Uber. Overall, the personal identifiable information (PII) are collected and stored by Uber. Besides that, Uber also collects and stores information that can reconstruct an individual’s daily life, such as location history. With the wealth of PIIs collected and stored by Uber, the user should be concerned about what Uber can do with the data.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash Solove’s Taxonomy Analysis
Solove’s Taxonomy provides us a framework to analyze the potential harm on the data subject (the user). According to Solove’s Taxonomy, Uber users are the data subject. When the user uses the Uber service, their personal data are transmitted to Data Holder, which is Uber. Then it will go through Information Processing step in Solove’s Taxonomy, including aggregation, identification, etc. After processing the data, there will be a Information Dissemination step where Uber can take action on user’s data.
Let’s look at the first step in Solove’s Taxonomy – Information Collection. As discussed above, Uber collects data in three ways. However, there is a weird clause in Uber’s privacy notice III. A. 2. Location data section: “precise or approximate location data from a user’s mobile device if enabled by the user… when the Uber app is running in the foreground (app open and on-screen) or background (app open but not on-screen) of their mobile device”. This means Uber is able to always collect the user’s current location on background even though the user isn’t using the app. The clause gives Uber an opportunity to always monitor the user’s location after using Uber once. This creates potential harm to the user because it’s possible that a user’s location is always being collected by Uber without consent.