Uber adds yet another creepy “feature”

My last Uber driver was actually pretty hot.

My last Uber driver was actually pretty hot.

Uber announces plans to use drivers’ GPS and accelerometer data to determine if drivers are speeding. The idea, according to them, is if the trip is too fast or there are sudden braking manuevers, that is something that they should be aware of and take up with drivers. So yet a new way this company is being creepy, evil, and mysterious.

They say this will promote safety. But it’s hypocrisy, because:

  • This is the same Uber that says it doesn’t employ these drivers, they’re just independent contractors. Since they’re independent contractors, why is it Uber’s business how they drive?
  • If you had an accident due to unsafe driving, Uber wouldn’t be there to pay damages. Uber would say, “Hey, sue the 20-year-old kid — we’re just a marketplace.”
  • The post linked above includes vague assurances like “improve safety proactively” and “on the lookout . . . to do better.” But it makes no promises they’ll actually jerk the leash on bad drivers… because if they were to actually promise stuff, then they would become liable.

And do we really need Uber literally tracking our every jerk and twitch? This is the same Uber that invented “God Mode” to track Uber passengers, and whose privacy policy currently says:

If you permit the Uber app to access location services through the permission system used by your mobile operating system (“platform”), [which there is no way not to do, not if you want to be able to get a ride,] we may also collect the precise location of your device when the app is running in the foreground or background.

Yes: Uber sees you when you’re sleeping, and even when you’re not using the Uber app. And you can’t turn it off if you want to use the service. Nothing is to say Uber won’t be following the accelerometer in your phone, too. You can’t trust these people.

The Uber service has changed my world, but the arrogant Silicon Valley technocrats (and their lawyers) are out of control. File this under: dangers of monopoly; the pain of adhesion contracts; the inexorable advance of the security state.

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