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Uber to stop storing exact pickup and dropoff locations in driver logs

Apr 23, 2018, 4:30 pm

In a launch to be a pilot program, Uber will obscure riders’ exact pickup and drop-off locations in the driver trip history and will display a broader location instead.

This change will enhance rider privacy and safety. This is the first of the upcoming changes in Uber systems and policy, which will limit the exposure of users’ location data.

As of yet, the Uber drivers are given a record of the exact drop-off and pickup addresses of passengers in their trip history. The setting allows for addresses to be stored indefinitely in a driver’s trip history. This enables a driver to go back and look at a rider’s address whenever he pleases. This sensitive data is maintained even if a rider deletes his/her account and data from Uber.

According to an Uber spokesperson, location data is deemed to be the most sensitive information, and every possible measure is being taken so that it is not abused. The new Uber privacy update design will give enough information for drivers to identify past trips for customer support issues or earning disputes. But there will be no ongoing access to riders addresses.

Women have continually complained for years about creepy experiences with drivers on various taxi services. Often drivers abused the phone numbers and addresses provided through the app to stalk or harass women. Obscuring address and contact information will give riders an extra layer of protective measure.

This will be the Uber’s new default feature and will help Uber with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation compliance. This new regulation requires tech companies to allow users to delete their data as well as forcing the companies to give users access to their own data. With the new feature, there will be a good compromise between allowing riders to delete their information while still giving drivers access to their own data.

Uber’s new driver app started to roll out last week, based on driver feedback. This location-fuzzing operation will begin once that rollout is complete.

According to a spokesman, this new privacy feature will be tried and tested for goal-meeting purposes before it is made broadly available. Regardless of the design/UX tweaks are needed, this will be made a default setting in the upcoming months.

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