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Sen. Franken Releases Response from Uber on Data Privacy Policies

Monday, December 15, 2014

After pressing the popular on-demand car service Uber to clarify its data privacy policies, today U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released the company's response, which he said lacked detail and did not include answers to many of his questions. You can read Sen. Franken's original letter to Uber here and the company's response here.

Last month, amid several troubling reports about Uber's data collection practices and possible misuse of consumers' data, Sen. Franken asked the company to clarify its privacy policies. He also asked Uber, which connects riders with drivers-for-hire using a GPS-based mobile app, to explain how widely it uses its so-called "God View" tool, which allows Uber to track riders' locations.

"I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes the ability to control who is getting your personal location information and who it's being shared with," said Sen. Franken. "I recently pressed Uber to explain the scope, transparency, and enforceability of their privacy policies. While I'm pleased that they replied to my letter, I am concerned about the surprising lack of detail in their response. Quite frankly, they did not answer many of the questions I posed directly to them. Most importantly, it still remains unclear how Uber defines legitimate business purposes for accessing, retaining, and sharing customer data. I will continue pressing for answers to these questions."

Sen. Franken, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, has long been an advocate of protecting consumers' privacy, especially in light of new technologies. Earlier this year he reintroduced his Location Privacy Protection Act, which would give consumers more control over their sensitive location information.

You can read Sen. Franken's original letter to Uber here and the company's response here.

Earlier this month, Sen. Franken asked Lyft—another car service company that uses a GPS-based mobile app—to clarify its own privacy policies.


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