Uber to pay $20,000 penalty, reform tracking practices

Uber will pay a $20,000 penalty and reform its GPS-tracking practices in an agreement with the New Y

Uber will pay a $20,000 penalty and reform its GPS-tracking practices in an agreement with the New York State attorney general’s office stemming from a September 2014 data breach.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said his office began investigating the app-based car service in November 2014 following reports that company executives could access riders’ locations in an aerial display known internally as “God View.”

Uber executives then notified the attorney general’s office in February 2015 that driver names and driver’s license numbers had been accessed by an unauthorized third party months earlier, Schneiderman said.

The $20,000 penalty stems from the company’s failure to notify drivers and the attorney general’s office of the data breach in a timely manner, the attorney general’s office said.

Uber has also implemented new training and security practices regarding the handling of personal information and geolocation information, the office said in a statement.

“This settlement protects the personal information of Uber riders from potential abuse by company executives and staff, including the real-time locations of riders in an Uber vehicle,” Schneiderman said in the statement.

An Uber spokesman said in a statement that the company is “committed to protecting the privacy and personal data of riders and drivers.”

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General that resolves these questions and makes clear our commitment to best practices that put our community first,” the spokesman said.

Uber, which operates in New York City, is pushing to expand onto Long Island. The effort got a boost this month when Long Island’s largest business group, the Long Island Association, joined the “NY Needs Uber” campaign advocating for regulations that would make the service available statewide.

Association President Kevin Law said in a news release that the service “has the potential to offer residents a reliable and affordable transportation option around their communities and to the Long Island Rail Road, increase customer traffic to local businesses, and even reduce drunk driving.”

The service hit a roadblock in the Hamptons last year when East Hampton Town officials charged 20 of its drivers with violating local taxi regulations over Memorial Day weekend. The company pulled its service from the town in June.


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