More Revelations of Uber Surveillance: The Data Fields

Smartphones, Surveillance

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 BeyoncĂ©. 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. uber_fields

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.

Source: Gizmodo

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