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Uber Begins Large Scale Location Tracking of Riders

The ride-sharing app has extended the way it tracks its users.

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Uber has always used your phone’s location services, but they’ve usually been limited to times when you have the ride-sharing app open. Since the latest update (version 3.222.4) however, Uber has been tracking its users full time. Whether you’re at home, reading articles on VR-Zone, or at the super market, Uber has access to your location.

Uber has said that while the new version does have full access to your location, the app isn’t going to be tracking you all the time. The company really only needs  a bit more access to improve its service, but because of the way device permissions work, the app needs to request full access.

The company is hoping to use the increased tracking to help drivers and riders find each other better. A consistent challenge for the app is to accurately pinpoint pickup locations. It is one of the main reasons for riders and drivers needing to contact each other. They also wish to track whether riders are crossing the street, potentially in dangerous places, in order to reach their destinations after a drop off.

“We’re always thinking about ways we can improve the rider experience from sharpening our ETA estimates to identifying the best pick up location on any given street. Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we’re asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

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Uber laid the groundwork for the new tracking methods last year when they updated their privacy policy. The change prompted a backlash from various groups, including a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which made the complaint, called the changes an “unlawful and deceptive trade practice.”

Users who feel uncomfortable with the new tracking service can of course, turn off location services. They will get a notice that Uber needs location services enabled, but they can opt to enter an address for pickup instead, if they still refuse.

source: TechCrunch

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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