While we all love the connivence of Uber, it appears that things aren’t all that they seem when it comes the transportation company. In fact, Uber employees have been spying on people, including Beyoncé, their exes, and politicians.
While we love hearing hilarious stories about people’s Uber rides, whether they’re trying to catch a date or celebrities that have had funny rides, this latest news has us a tiny bit concerned. According to a report in The Guardian, employees at Uber have been using a feature called “God view” to spy on high profile clients and ex-partners.
The news comes from the testimony of Uber’s former forensic investigator, Samuel Ward Spangenberg, who is suing the company for age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation. According to Spangenberg, he alerted the company’s head of security, John Flynn, along with HR chief Andrew Wegley regarding his concerns about security breaches and he was dismissed 11 months later.
The emergence of the “God view” feature came back in 2014 after one of Uber’s top New York executives tracked a reporter‘s journey without her permission. This tracking tool allows employees to see the location of drivers and users who have requested rides. At the time, Uber defended “God view,” with Buzzfeed stating that the company had said that access to the feature was only permitted for “legitimate business purposes and that violations result in disciplinary action.”
In his testimony, which was delivered back in October, Spangenberg said that he also raised concerns about the way that Uber was storing user data, claiming that it was insecure and vulnerable. What’s more, he accused of the company of have specific protocols for dealing with raids on their offices, something that has become a regular occurrence due to Uber’s violation of local regulations.
In a statement, Uber said that they were continuing increase they’re security protocols. “We have hundreds of security and privacy experts working around the clock to protect our data,” they said. “This includes enforcing to authorised employees solely for purposes of their job responsibilities, and all potential violations are quickly and thoroughly investigated.”
What’s more, the company announced that extra security precautions were being set up to protect high profile clients, or MVPs. However, Spangenberg raised concerns that this didn’t protect regular “non-MVPs.”
The Guardian reports that Uber confirmed that “fewer than 10” employees had been subjected to disciplinary action for abusing the tool, which they say is in place to monitor refund requests and accident investigations.