US Senator Al Franken unhappy with Uber answers on user data

Franken asked about Uber's so-called 'God View' tool and how widely it's used

U.S. Senator Al Franken isn't satisfied with Uber Technologies' response to privacy questions he asked the ride service.

The chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law wrote said Uber dodged some of the questions he raised about customer data.

"Quite frankly, they did not answer many of the questions I posed directly to them," Franken wrote in a post Monday.

"Most importantly, it still remains unclear how Uber defines legitimate business purposes for accessing, retaining and sharing customer data. I will continue pressing for answers to these questions."

Last month, the Minnesota senator and longtime comedian had written a letter to Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick in which he said he is concerned about a "troubling disregard for customers' privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data.

Franken asked Uber how it handles customer data for "legitimate business purposes," as Uber has characterized in its privacy policy. In its response, posted on his website, Uber's managing counsel for privacy, Katherine Tassi, said the company retains most of the information collected from users in their accounts, and retains them until an account is settled after cancellation.

Tassi also said that Uber's so-called "God View" tool, which allows staff to see the locations of cars, is essential for ensuring that vehicles on the service are properly distributed in a city. When shown to third parties, a "presentation" view is used and rider data is inaccessible, she added.

Franken's letter raised 10 questions and focused on revelations that Uber executive Emil Michael suggested the company might try to dig up dirt on journalists who have been critical of it.

The questions came after a report on Buzzfeed that said Michael made comments at a New York dinner suggesting Uber could target a critical female journalist. Sarah Lacy, a technology writer who was the apparent target of this plan, wrote that Michael has since apologized.

In the latest controversy surrounding Uber, France's Ministry of the Interior said Monday that its UberPop service, which hooks up private drivers with passengers, will be banned in France from Jan. 1, when a new taxi law comes into force.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyUber Technologies

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?