New Uber tracking policy raises eyebrows

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind-- Popular ride sharing app Uber is changing the way it tracks its users, but some are now wondering if the new policy goes too far.

The latest version of the app asks to track users and their location for an additional five minutes after they’ve reached their destination. It also allows the app to track users when the app is running in the background.

The company says the purpose for the new policy is to help improve pickups, drop offs, customer service and safety for its riders and drivers.

Some have criticized the move as an invasion of user privacy.

“This is a step backwards from their previous statements on protecting people’s privacy information,” Michael Taylor of Rook Security said.

Taylor says the issue with the policy is essentially that users have to trust that Uber will only track them for five minutes after they’re dropped off. But he questions if and how that will be regulated.

“If they’re going to expand it to five minutes who’s to say they won’t expand that to the entire duration that you have the Uber app on your phone,” he said.

Stephen Reynolds, a data privacy lawyer with law firm Ice Miller says anytime a company asked for your personal information, it can lead to a “landmine” situation.

“The main issue is what the company is disclosing at the time they collect their data. So are they telling you here’s what we’re collecting and here’s what we’re using it for, here’s how you can opt out if you’re uncomfortable with this practice” he said.

Uber says users can stop the company from tracking them by disabling the tracking permissions on their phone. But that would mean users would have to input addresses manually. Otherwise users would have to make sure they completely close the app every time they reach their destination

Experts say to be safe, people should read more of the fine print in the user agreement whenever any app asks to access your information.

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