Ride sharing company Uber is no stranger to controversy. From lawsuits dating back to 2014, the company has been routinely accused of violating its customers’ privacy by tracking their locations and accessing the ride logs for their trips. This practice has extended to everyone from celebrities and reporters to business people and presumably the typical public rider. But the latest update to Uber’s app has left more than a few people scratching their heads, wondering what’s so important about their locations.

Image courtesy of Yahoo.com

Image courtesy of Yahoo.com

The company’s app developer recently issued an update that stripped away one key feature Apple offers for apps. Most developers (including Uber) have relied on the giving their customers the option to decide when the app can track their location: always, only when in use, or never. With this latest update, Uber decided to skip over that middle option, meaning its users can now only choose to let the app track them “always” or “never.” Never isn’t an option, obviously, because it means the driver won’t know where to pick them up. Always isn’t sitting well with some people, as Uber’s updated privacy policy doesn’t explain what they want to do with the information on their customers’ whereabouts.

Uber also recently stated that it will only access its users’ locations for five minutes after they are dropped off at their locations, but has only said that this ongoing tracking is designed to offer better service and increased driver performance. Presumably, they’re implying that they will direct more drivers to be available in areas where known Uber customers happen to be located; perhaps having extra vehicles in the vicinity so they’re ready at the touch of an app to pick up customers. It’s a logical business-minded reason, albeit still somewhat creepy.

However, despite the privacy lessons the company has had to learn the hard way, its chief of security has had to issue another company email warning its employees against violating their privacy policy. The email, which went out December 12th, reminds them of the serious consequences for attempting to access information, locations, and ride logs if their specific job duties do not require that information.

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