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Uber's first transparency report details regulatory data requests

Engadget Engadget 12/04/2016 Billy Steele
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Uber faces constant criticism for its policies relating to drivers and security. Today, the ride-hailing company released its first transparency report, detailing the scope of information requests from law enforcement and regulators in the US. In fact, Uber says it's the first company to include regulatory requests in this type of report, a disclosure that Google, Facebook and others have made a habit of over the last few years. When it comes to the scale of the regulatory requests, Uber says it received 33 in the last six months of 2015. Those requests included information on nearly 14 million drivers and riders between July and December 2015.

The company says that while personal information remains locked down, the "blanket" requests from regulators do ask for trip information. This sometimes includes the exact GPS coordinates of pickup/drop off locations or the exact path of the trip. Again, this is information being sought by regulators, not law enforcement.

When it comes to law enforcement requests, Uber complies with "the majority" of those, after going through the proper legal channels. It requires either a subpoena or warrant before handing over any information. In 2015, the company received 415 requests from mostly state law enforcement which included info on 613 driver and rider accounts, mostly pertaining to criminal cases. Uber also noted that it has not yet received National Security Letters or FISA orders. Today's transparency report only details disclosures made to US agencies, so it will be interesting to see if Uber does the same in other countries where it operates.


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