Report: Uber Can Track Any Customer Using Its 'God View' Tool

Illustration for article titled Report: Uber Can Track Any Customer Using Its God View Tool

Uber changed its privacy policy yesterday, but even that may not cover its back this time. Because its top New York executive, Josh Mohrer, has been using an internal tool called God View to track a journalist without her permission.

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Buzzfeed reports that one of its journalists, Johana Bhuiyan, used Uber to travel to a meeting with Josh Mohrer last month. On arriving, he was waiting for her, then casually said "I was tracking you" as he pointed to his iPhone.

Buzzfeed has since learned from two ex-Uber employees that a tool known as "God View" allows the company's staff to track both Uber vehicles and customers. It's not open to drivers at all, but it is apparently "widely available" at a corporate level.

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Tracking Bhuiyan obviously flies in the face of even Uber's latest privacy policy, which states that employees are prohibited to look at customer rider histories except for "legitimate business purposes." People have previously written about being tracked by Uber, though this case sounds rather more concrete.

While it makes sense for Uber to be able to track its drivers, if only for saefty reason, naming the system God View, tracking journalists with it, and then telling them about it... well, it doesn't seem like great business sense. How about hitching a ride elsewhere? [Buzzfeed]

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DISCUSSION

thegregorius
thegregorius

Hmm. Didn't Gizmodo's Uber coverage use to be quite positively spun?

Not saying that a negative spin is worse than a positive spin, nor that things like this shouldn't be written about, but I'm concerned if Giz suddenly takes an anti-Uber position simply based on a few comments about journalists.

That's a question of journalistic integrity that's always present, whether it's a tech blog or a major news station somewhere. If a company of person says or does anything regarding journalists, does it affect the coverage of said company or person in a different way than if it was about firemen, postmen or teachers?

In Sweden, there's currently a debate about the funding of public service TV, we have a license fee similar to the British system. From what I've heard, the question is politically sensitive simply because politicians are afraid to get on the wrong foot with journalists.

To me this is a very, very worrying issue. I'm not necessarily calling Gizmodo's journalistic integrity into question, but I think that your integrity will be reflected in whether or not the tone of general reporting on Uber is affected by these recent "scandals".