Uber: A Much Needed Reveal

Feeling down and need someone to cuddle with? How about a kitten, and you don’t need to buy one for yourself either. Just “Uber” it! Yes, Uber offers the service Uber KITTENS in 7 US cities which gives you the chance to find a pet to spend some time with while donating the proceedings to animal shelters. (Sounds like daily doubles)

After discussing about the home-grown ride hailing app, ‘Pick Me’, we turn towards their biggest competitor in Sri Lanka, Uber. Being one of the most recognized companies in the world, Uber entered the Sri Lankan market in the year 2015, and has expanded its presence aggressively through a number of offerings to their customers. With the recent arrival of UberEATS, they have become one of the mostly used apps, further increasing its impact on Sri Lankans. Therefore, through this article we will dig into the Privacy Statement of Uber, to bring out some interesting facts you might not have known! (You will reach your destination in 5 minutes)

As per the statement, there are three kinds of information that Uber collects about you and their drivers, and we will be mainly focusing on the points that really matter to the users. One such information is the information you provide when you sign up for the service, which includes basic personal details, while if you select to sign up using Facebook or Google, will also include some of your information on those services. Secondly Uber will also collect data regarding when you use the app and while the third and most obvious data points being Location Data. Similar to ‘Pick Me’, they may collect your location data when you have opened the app as well as when it is in the background.

Especially the location data will be collected from the point of you requesting a service until you reach your destination, or the foody cravings are delivered to you. Yes, you can always turn off your location data once you have booked a ride, but since your driver’s location is always tracked, Uber will automatically link that information to your account. (Smooth Criminal!)

They also collect data from a number of other sources which include device data, app usage data and cookies. One feature of the app is that it allows you to contact your driver or the delivery person without revealing your contact details. To provide this feature, it will collect information such as date & time, along with the content of the communication. Of course, that helps you to lodge a complain when that one Uber driver starts to misbehave!

For what do they use these data? Some of the uses are – to help them improve to provide and maintain their services, ustomer Support, Research and Development, Personalize the services (which let you know that you always choose pizza for dinner)

They also want you to know that your “personal” data is not sold for marketing and other purposes.

This information is then shared among a number of parties, including other users, Uber Subsidiaries / Affiliates, Service Providers (Including OGs Google and Facebook) and Business Partners.  

Can you (un)ride Uber? Yes, you always have the options from changing or accessing your data, receive a copy of your data with Uber to delete your account. (Case Solved)

Once your (wish) is granted, it will take around 90 days to completely wipe out your data with Uber, given that there is no issue between you and them.

So, compared to ‘Pick Me’, Uber offers number of privacy options for the users to have control over their data. (But if you use it in USA or Europe you can reach the Privacy Level: Thanos)

We have a cookie a.k.a Bonus fact for you – Did you know that Kottawa Town and University of Jayewardenepura are among the top 5 Uber destination in 2019?

Written by: Rtr. Ashen Hirantha

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena


The author RACALBS