New Uber setting raises privacy concerns, asks to track your location after drop-off

Posted at 10:04 PM, Dec 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 23:29:18-05

A new setting recently unveiled on the Uber ridesharing app has led to questions over privacy concerns.

The new setting is presented to users as soon as they log-in, and asks them whether or not to allow the company to track their location before, during, and up to five minutes after their ride.

Uber stated that the location tracking can help improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and safety.

On Wednesday evening, Uber riders around the metro expressed mixed reviews on the new setting.

“I wasn't aware of it but if you're just going to a restaurant, what harm could come out of that?" explained Rodney Steffen, who used Uber on Wednesday to hail a ride to the Power & Light District.

However, others expressed privacy issues with the location tracking.

“I find that a little bit creepy,” said Alisha McCabe, who told 41 Action News she has only used Uber once. “I wouldn't want them to know where I'm at or five minutes after that."

McCabe questioned why the company would need to monitor users even after they are done using the service.

“I don't like having the location setting on my phone at all,” she said. “’Big Brother’ doesn't need to know where I'm at."

Attorney Matthew O’Connor, who said he has used the app in the past, believed the company could get information from users without having to track their movements.

“The notion of privacy in and of itself is maybe a lost art,” he explained. “If they want to improve customer service, there's a lot better ways for them to do that.”

O’Connor said Uber could use customer surveys and feedback to improve the service.

He also explained that Uber riders could take a simple step to ease privacy concerns.

“What can I do as a consumer is turn off the location settings on the phone,” O’Connor said.

Turning on the location tracking setting is optional for Uber riders.

However, if an Uber rider decides not to allow the company to track their location, they will have to manually enter the drop-off address whenever they use Uber.



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