Services Can Grab Your Phone Number, Billing Info, And Location With Just Your Mobile IP Address

Just a week after roping in Apple's former privacy counsel Sabrina Ross to join Uber's growing legal team, the taxi-hailing app today released its new privacy policy which explains in detail all the data Uber collects from its customers, the purpose for such collection, the extent to which it is made available to third parties; and how consumers can control the use of data relating to them.

While the policy is shorter, more transparent, easier to read and more expansive, it pretty much admits that riders have no privacy at all since Uber can track everything riders do while using the Uber app. And beginning July 15, Uber can ask permission to track a rider’s location even when the application isn’t open and can also use your contact information to send special offers to the customers friends and family. While iOS users can later disable the contact syncing option by changing the contacts settings on your mobile device, The Android platform, which is used by a majority of Indians,  does not provide any such a setting yet.

However, according to Katherine Tassi, the managing counsel of data privacy at Uber, users will be able to choose whether they want to share that data with the ride-hailing company given that it has faced flak in the past over how it handles sensitive information, particularly over its so-called ”God view” tool that apparently lets some Uber employees track the location of customers that have requested car service.

The new privacy policy comes following a review by law firm Hogan Lovells, which recommended simplifying existing policies to make them easier to understand. It is available in 23 languages, covering most of the languages spoken in the 57 countries where Uber operates.

"We collect information you provide directly to us, such as when you create or modify your account, request on-demand services, contact customer support, or otherwise communicate with us. This information may include: name, email, phone number, postal address, profile picture, payment method, items requested (for delivery services), delivery notes, and other information you choose to provide," Uber said in a blog post today.

Uber can read text messages you send to drivers, follow your location as you ride in an Uber and store your address book on its servers.



Here is a list of information Uber collects from its riders:


Location: Uber will use its app to collect the precise location of the user's device when the app is running in the foreground or background, if the app is allowed to access location services through permissions in the mobile OS. The company may also arrive at the approximate location of the user from his IP address.This information will be collected in addition to precise location data about a trip collected from the Uber app used by the driver when a rider uses the service.


Contacts Information: If you permit the Uber app to access address book on your device, Uber may access and store names and contact information from your address book to facilitate 'social interactions.'

"We may also seek permission for our app’s collection and syncing of contact information from your device per the permission system used by your mobile operating system. If you initially permit the collection of this information, iOS users can later disable it by changing the contacts settings on your mobile device. The Android platform does not provide such a setting," says Uber in a blog post. 


Transaction Information: Transaction details including the type of service requested, date and time the service was provided, amount charged, distance traveled, and other related transaction details.


Usage and Preference Information: Uber collects information about how you and site visitors interact with our Services, preferences expressed, and settings chosen.


. Device Information: Uber may collect information about your mobile device, including, for example, the hardware model, operating system and version, software and file names and verions, preferred language, unique device identifier, advertising identifiers, serial number, device motion information, and mobile network information.


Call and SMS Data: Uber receives call data, including the date and time of the call or SMS message, the parties’ phone numbers, and the content of the SMS message


Log Information: Information like device IP address, access dates and times, app features or pages viewed, app crashes and other system activity, type of browser, and the third-party site or service you were using before interacting with Uber can also be tapped into.

Sharing of Consumer Data

Consumer data will be shared not only with Uber subsidiaries and affiliated entities that provide services or conduct data processing on its behalf, but also with vendors, consultants, marketing partners, as well as law enforcement officials, government authorities, or other third parties if Uber believes the riders actions are inconsistent with its policies and terms of service. In other words, Uber  retains permission to hand over customer data to third parties like vendors, marketing partners and law enforcement officials under certain circumstances but assures users that it does not share personally identifiable information with third parties for  direct marketing purposes unless the user has provided them with their consent to do so.

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