A wrongful termination suit brought by a former forensic investigator for Uber has brought to light Uber’s specific data fields used to track ride-hailers. Ward Spangenberg, who brought the suit, claims that employees inappropriately used application data to track exes and celebrities, such as Beyoncé. The Uber argument is that the company collects only just enough data to do the job. However, the evidence presented in the suit includes a list of 500 variables derived by Uber about riders.
Spreadsheet posted by Gizmodo
The term “greyball” in the above figure may refer to the deceptive program that gives some riders a modified app, different from the regular Uber app. The Justice Department is currently investigating whether Uber “greyballed” Portland officials so that they could not hail rides under UberX, a service that was illegal under local laws.
Here are some of the data Uber extracts from your location and payment history: GPS points for trips you often take, how often you’ve cancelled, and how often you’ve changed a credit card. Data such as these are then used to populate fields like “suspected_clique_rider” and “potential_rider_driver_collusion” based on the frequency of trips you take with the same driver.
Uber is also under scrutiny for a program called Hell, in which it tracked Lyft drivers by creating fake Lyft driver accounts, which essentially gave them a map of other drivers.