As of its latest update, Uber is now tracking users for five minutes after exiting their ride. It’s not exactly CIA-level spying, but users aren’t exactly digging the update.
new #uber update w/ 5min post-trip tracking is worrisome to me, a woman who has 2x now given a fake destination to a leering male driver
— soap (@stompysmith) December 5, 2016
@Uber_Support what's up with always tracking? It's so creepy. Now I have to toggle between turning tracking on and off
— electricsnowflake (@electraisland) December 5, 2016
“It's both terrifyingly interesting and interestingly terrifying”
According to VICE, TNW Conference is quite the event
Prior to the update, Uber only collected location information when users requested a ride and then during the trip itself; no data was collected after getting dropped off. The change, according to Uber, is for a better user experience. According to TechCrunch, the company plans to use the tracking data to improve drop-offs and pick-ups — a major pain point for ride-sharing services. Additionally, the data would track how often riders have to cross the street after being dropped off — a metric that could improve user safety in the future.
According to a statement by an Uber spokesperson:
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.
As for the current update, users can opt-out, but it’s a bit of a pain to do so. Rather than offering the option to opt-out of being tracked after the ride, users will have to choose between always or never being tracked.