The meteoric rise of ride hailing app Uber has been under the spotlight with fresh accusations of lax security standards and rampant misuse of customers’ personal information.
- In its drive for publicity and word-of-mouth marketing, many are now accusing Uber of employing questionable business practices and low security standards during its meteoric rise.
- Uber employees used ‘God Mode’ to spy on celebrities, politicians and ex-girlfriends, claims former employee Ward Spangenberg.
- Whistleblower reveals shoddy security systems and protocols for accessing and storing customer’s personal information of 40 million users.
- San Francisco-based ride hailing app accused of exploiting drivers with low pay and long hours while putting passengers at risk with low entry barrier for employment.
Is Your Information Safe With Uber?
With over 40 million users and a growing presence around the globe, Uber has revolutionized city transport and applied an aggressive business strategy to make the Silicon Valley company one of the fastest growing in the world.
Valued to a tune of $50 billion after leap-frogging Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker, as the world’s highest-valued tech “unicorn”, it seems the ride-sharing phenomenon can do no wrong.
However the company has also been heavily criticized following the leak of personal and geographic data contained on millions of customers’ phones.
— Hugh Byrne (@hdbyrne) December 13, 2016
A Toxic Lack of Security
In a fresh development, former Uber forensic investigator turned whistleblower Ward Spangenberg has detailed the toxic lack of security and protocols at the San Francisco based headquarters.
“Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses,” Spangenberg wrote in a court declaration against the company.
In addition to the security failings, Spangenberg went on to accuse Uber of deleting files it was legally obligated to keep. Apparently, this extended to the company remotely encrypting its computers to block authorities during raids of overseas Uber offices.
Uber and a History of Scandal
Ride sharing giant Uber has been in the news often since its 2009 revolution of private transport in major cities around the globe, but the San Francisco-based company has also enjoyed its fair share of scandal.
- In the UK many taxi drivers protested and petitioned the British parliament to prevent the rise sharing service from operating in London, citing safety and professional concerns.
- There are lingering concerns about Uber’s safety measures for passengers and its process for approving drivers, who are considered contractors rather than employees.
- Allegedly, Uber employees conducted an organized effort to order cars from a competitor app, Gett, cancelling their orders just before the ride arrived to reduce the stock of cars and drivers. Reports of a much more concentrated effort by Uber against Lyft soon emerged.
- It was reported that an Uber official had tracked a Buzzfeed reporter’s location without her permission in 2014 as reportd emerged of another executive who suggested digging up dirt on journalists critical of Uber.
With meteoric growth projected for 2017, the presence of Uber on our streets shows no signs of stopping. In London, the company will soon be rolling out its driverless car program and gain yet more publicity for a company with a spotty record on both ethics and safety.
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