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This article was published on December 6, 2016

Creepy uncle Uber is tracking passengers after being dropped off

Creepy uncle Uber is tracking passengers after being dropped off Image by: Noel Tock / Flickr
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

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.

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.

While Uber insists the new tracking capabilities aren’t posing a privacy threat to its users, it’s oddly reminiscent of the same statements it made last year after laying the groundwork for enhanced tracking. In 2015, the FTC received an official complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) after updating its privacy policy to include background location data that would “provide new useful features, such as providing faster loading time when the user opens the app.”

The latest update is just Uber making good on the change in its privacy policy.

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.

via Mashable

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