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Uber has revolutionized the way we get around, especially if you're constantly hopping in a taxi or using a car service. The days of trying to find local taxi numbers and local car services are gone. Uber is there for your whether you are in Chicago, London, Bali or Sydney. However, with the latest version of the app a new privacy issue has arisen with Uber.

What Has Uber Done?

After its most recent update, the App will collect data on your location for up to five minutes after you have closed the app. Previously, the application only tracked your location while the App was open and active. With the new policy, Uber will also know where you have been for up to 5 minutes after you have left the car. Unfortunately, this is not an optional feature, it is integrated into the App, and if you choose not to allow Uber location access, you’ll have to manually input a location every time you need an Uber pickup.

Uber in Car

This new policy might be of serious concern to users who are not comfortable with Uber tracking their location after exiting the car. While Uber has stated the data collected, will help them improve customer service, drop-offs, and pick-up times.

Should You Be Concerned?

To some privacy-conscious individuals, it may seem that Uber has embarked on some kind of Orwellian nightmare, but they need not worry. Firstly, up to now this data collection by Uber seems to be optional. Secondly, users might want to consider many automation apps available for smartphones, which possibly can short-circuit the Uber tracking. For example, by automatically closing off your location service when you close the Uber App, and then restarting the location service after a few minutes. How efficient this would be remains to be seen, along with whether Uber will force this feature on all its users or not.

Uber Now Tracks Your Location After the Ride Is Over
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Comments

  • I suppose this sort of transparency is better than companies who deny collecting data on users while simultaneously taking it?

  • This is creepy and unnecessary. They should absolutely allow people to opt out of this. Not sure how this is even legal

  • You can choose that they not track you in the app

    • and then you lose the functionality of the app locating you. Not a deal breaker but important to keep in mind if you don’t know the address or building/location where you currently happen to be.

  • I fail to see how this is necessary for Uber as they should only really care about where they pick you up. Wish there was a way to disable this.

    • My speculation: they’re looking to get data on drop off locations to see where someone goes from that location. Perhaps they have a drop off location identified as X but really people always go to Y which is 500′ away. That is what I hope at least.

  • Big deal! I am ready to let them to track me, nothing to hide. Their prices are so good versus regular taxis that they can track me 24/7

  • Uber seems to want it both ways; it wants to be thought of as a startup that can make these type of decisions and live in a, while not illegal, moral grey area, but still have the resources of the huge company it became. I know when I think of startups, I don’t picture companies grossing 1.5 billion in revenue/year. While not illegal, since its called out in their terms and conditions, could the average consumer be expected to keep up with the entirety of the user agreement each time it changes?

  • I am not happy with this.

  • Well, I will definitely be disabling this feature. Lyft has been running a ton of promotions lately. With the 2x MR, I may switch to them for the rest of the year and see how it goes.

  • Atleast they disclose the tracking… I don’t like companies who fail to disclose property or hide it in the details…

  • I’m pretty sure I disabled this and had the option to recently. Or maybe I just turned location services off.

  • Does anyone know if Lyft has similar technology? I seem to use Lyft more often nowadays…

  • I hope they will stop tracking us. I feel this is a breach of privacy. Does LYFT do this also?

  • I’m not comfortable with this development at all.

  • This is good for those who live in cities with one way streets. If they notice that people are jumping out of Ubers before reaching their “destination”, then cutting through side allys to get there, without dealing with traffic and unnecessary lights, then Uber can better direct their drivers on where the best drop off locations are for high traffic areas.

  • I wonder why Uber would need this info?

    • I think the best guess is they’re trying to find out where you actually are going when you request a specific location. Perhaps to best identify the ideal drop off point. I think there would be significantly less push back if they presented this as a reason. It at least “makes sense”

  • this is super creepy. makes me wanna use lyft instead

  • I would just disable location services on my phone for five minutes after drop off.

  • To me this is one more thing that makes me feel safe for myself and drivers. Despite what the Austin City Council believed, I think I am far safer in an Uber than a taxi. I have had some scary cab rides over the years, and have always believed that, if I got in a cab alone and disappeared, no one would have any way of starting to trace it. With this, I feel like, if something happened to me after exiting an Uber, law enforcement would a least be able to have an idea where I went. Further, this protects drivers, too. If there is evidence that a victim was not in/near the Uber when something happened to him/her, the driver is no longer a suspect.

  • I agree with Rebecca. Creepy, creepy, creepy!

  • I’m not sure what to think about that and also hope that they’ll use the fathered data to improve the service. Well, at least they keep it kinda transparent.

    On a sidenote: It’s amazing how far Uber has come. I use it all the time, when I’m abroad. I wish it was legal here in Germany.

  • I guess it won’t do any real harm, but still rubs me the wrong way.

  • What is I don’t agree?
    I don’t like being tracked!

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