Uber is to end the practice of collecting users’ information after their ride has ended.
Uber introduced the controversial policy in November last year, claiming that it was designed to improve passenger safety. At the time, Uber customers lost the ability to share location data only when they were using the app. Instead, they had to choose between having their location tracked always or never. If they chose the latter option, they then had to enter their pick-up and drop-off locations manually, so negating much of the simplicity of using the Uber app to order a ride. If they chose ‘always, Uber promised to track their location for the five minutes after a ride ended.
Not surprisingly, given Uber’s poor reputation for user privacy, the move attracted huge controversy, and today, the company’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, told Reuters that the company would reinstate the ability for users to share their location within the app only. iPhone users will be first to have the in-app only feature reinstated, with Android to follow.
In the interview, Sullivan told Reuters that the mistake Uber had made had been to ask for location information from users without explaining the value exchange, adding that it would do so in the future if it thought the move could add value for its customers.