Uber follows in Google and Microsoft's footsteps; publishes data collection policy

Taxi-hailing app Uber has published an updated privacy policy to highlight how it stores information about user's devices, their personal information and occasionally their address book of contacts, and who it shares that information with.

Aside from the usual information collection like location, SMS and call data between a user and a driver, it will also collect contact information from the address book on your device. This is to help with fare splitting services as well as the 'share my ETA' function.

Options to turn this on, or off, depend on the permission system on your mobile operating system. For example, an iOS user can turn this feature off, whereas an Android user will have to accept this feature to use the app.

Uber says it collects this information "to facilitate social interactions through our services and for other purposes described in this statement or at the time of consent or collection."

Information like this, as well as your transaction, location, usage and preferences, device type and server logs (which includes third-party sites or services you were using before interacting with the Uber app) will be shared in a variety of ways, its website states.

For example, it will share information on its users with drivers like your name, photo, user rating and pickup and drop-off locations with drivers.

It will share this with other users if ride-sharing or to split a fare.

However, it will is also sharing user information "with third parties with whom you choose to let us share information, for example other apps or websites that integrate without API or Services, or those with an API of Service with which we integrate.

"It also shares that data with "Uber subsidiaries and affiliated entities that provide services or conduct data processing on our behalf, or for data centralisation and, or logistics purposes; with vendors, consultants, marketing partners, and other service providers who need access to such information to carry out work on our behalf."

Uber will hand over information to government authorities and will transfer this data in the case of a merger or acquisition by another company and advertise based on your interests, sending promotions for its own services "and other companies" according to local laws.

After contacting Uber to find out more about collecting address book information, a spokesperson said: "If we decided to ever use contacts for any other enhancement [other than current service features] we would notify users and require opt in"

It says unless you have consented, or been notified, it will share anonymous, aggregated information how it sees fit. This new policy will come into effect on the 15 July.

Microsoft yesterday followed suit, providing a privacy dashboard that allows users to manage permissions, advert preferences, search history and browsing logs from a single point. Its new policy will come into effect in August.


Margi Murphy

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