Uber may be a convenient and cheap way to hail a cab, but a former employee now claims that employees have been misusing the tracking technology available to them to spy on celebrities, politicians and exes.
Ward Spangenberg, Uber’s former forensic investigator, has acted as a whistleblower of sorts in this latest development. Fired from the company in February after an 11 month stint, he claims the company routinely violated consumer-privacy and data-protection regulations.
Spangenberg, who is suing the company for wrongful termination, defamation, and age discrimination stated that those who worked at the company could easily track high-profile figures and people in their own lives by looking up their travel history in the company’s database. It is estimated that the number of company members with access to customer travel history was in the thousands.
This new report comes after the 2014 scandal in which it was revealed that Uber executives had access to something called a “god view,” which allowed them to see the logs of Uber customer activity. They used this to track journalists and other people of interest without their knowledge or consent.
Uber paid a fine of $20,000 for both that data breach and a security issue that caused 50,000 US Uber drivers to have their information exposed.
As part of the settlement, Uber was to remove all personally identifiable information of service users. However Spangenberg and several other employees allege that not much has changed since the hearing. They also state that the new policies Uber laid out were never enforced and that the term “god view” was simply changed to “heaven view.”
Uber, however, maintains that only employees that need to access customer data are able to do so, despite the former employees who claim to the contrary. They do, however, acknowledge that some employees have broken internal policies, and those individuals have been let go from the company.
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