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Did you see: “Sen. Franken Asks Uber’s CEO Tough Questions On User Privacy”

TechCrunch has the scoop on how Al is pressing Uber to provide more transparency on how they use the personal data of subscribers to the service.

Senator Al Franken, Chairman of the Subcommittee On Privacy, Technology, and the Law, has posted a public letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in which he addresses many of the claims made over the past few days that the company has consistently compromised user privacy as a matter of course.

“I am especially troubled because there appears to be evidence of practices inconsistent with the policy [Uber spokesperson] Ms. Hourajian articulated. It has been reported that a tool known as ‘God view’ is ‘widely available to most Uber corporate employees’ and allows employees to track the location of Uber customers who have requested car service. In at least one incident, a corporate employee reportedly admitted to using the tool to track a journalist. The journalist’s permission had not been requested, and the circumstances of the tracking do not suggest any legitimate business purpose. Indeed, it appears that on prior occasions your company has condoned use of customers’ data for questionable purposes,” wrote Senator Franken.

Franken went on to ask eight questions, which will probably be answered on the Senate floor in the coming weeks. “Your policies suggest that customers’ personal information and usage information, including geolocation data, is maintained indefinitely — indeed even after an account is terminated. Why? What limits are you considering imposing? In particular, when an account is terminated, why isn’t this information deleted as soon as pending chmges or other transactional disputes are resolved?” he asked. “Where in your privacy policy do you address the ‘limited set of legitimate business uses’ that may justify employees’ access to riders’ and drivers’ data, including sensitive geolocation data?”

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