Uber now has the capacity to track riders even after they have completed their journey. Which should worry anyone who cares about their privacy and security. OK, so this may be helping Uber improve its service, but at what cost to the people actually using it?
When Uber recently updated its apps the ride-sharing company changed the way it collects location data from users. Previously, Uber would only collect location data when users had the app open. Now, Uber can collect data at any and all times.
Uber promises not to do that, telling TechCrunch it will collect location data for just five minutes after a driver has dropped a rider off at their destination. Unfortunately, Uber needs to gain permission to collect data at all times merely to collect it for those extra five minutes.
Those five minutes are, Uber argues, important, because it allows the company to improve drop-offs and pick-ups. Uber also wants to see how people cross the road after being dropped off to make sure its drivers — who you can compliment but not tip — are using common sense.
Uber Reassures Riders
Uber has tried to reassure riders worried about the change, issuing a statement saying:
“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. Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we’re asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals.”
However, none of these assurances from Uber will help ease the minds of anyone who doesn’t like the thought of being tracked as they go about their business. Whether it’s for five minutes or five months, people tend not to like the idea that someone, somewhere is watching their every move.
Uber has tried to safeguard its reputation by allowing riders to opt out of having their location data collected. The problem is it’s now an all-or-nothing scenario. If you opt in you’ll be sharing location data beyond the duration of your ride. And if you opt out you’ll have to manually enter an address when booking a pick-up.
Do you regularly use Uber? What do you think of the company changing the way it collects location data? Are you likely to accept the changes or opt out entirely? If you’re an Uber driver, how do you feel about this? Please let us know in the comments below!