Under New CEO, Uber Stops Tracking Users Post-Ride

August 30, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Uber is no longer leaderless now that Expedia exec Dara Khosrowshahi has filled the empty throne that once seated Travis Kalanick. As Android app developers know, Khosrowshahi has his work cut out for him. Cleaning up Uber’s messes and rehabilitating its public image is going to be a long and arduous process. As he stated in a memo to his former employees at Expedia, “I have to tell you I am scared.” But of course running the $70 billion ride-hailing juggernaut has its rewards too.

Under Khosrowshahi the company is already starting to make big changes. Uber is now nixing its policy of tracking users for the five minutes following their ride. Enacted last year, the policy angered privacy advocates and Android app developers (especially since the company only tracked users with Android phones). Ostensibly a way “to improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and to enhance safety,” the policy seemed like an overstep, especially from a company already under scrutiny for so many shady practices. Customers could turn off the tracking by shutting off the app’s location services, but doing so forced users to type out their pickup locations, undercutting the convenience of the app.

As the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in a harsh 2015 complaint against Uber, its policies “ignore past bad practices of the company involving the misuse of location data.” As Los Angeles Android app developers know, asking for too much information is a great way to lose users. Of course, Uber has weathered its controversies so far without significantly dwindling in popularity, but its lack of trustworthiness is bound to catch up with it. Here’s hoping that Uber continues to make the changes necessary to regain the trust of the public. If Khosrowshahi keeps up the good work, millions of Uber users can stop feeling a weird mix of guilt and paranoia whenever they open the app.

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