Uber agrees to settlement in “God View” privacy case

NEW YORK – New York’s attorney general has announced a settlement with Uber requiring the car service app to protect riders’ personal information.

The agreement follows an investigation by the AG’s office amid reports that Uber executives had access to riders’ locations and displayed it in an aerial view, known internally as “God View.” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the San Francisco-based company is now required to encrypt rider geo-location information and to adopt other data security practices.

“This settlement protects the personal information of Uber riders from potential abuse by company executives and staff, including the real-time locations of riders in an Uber vehicle,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “We are committed to protecting the privacy of consumers and customers of any product in New York State, as well as that of employees of any company operating here. I strongly encourage all technology companies to regularly review and amend their own policies and procedures to better protect their customers’ and employees’ private information.”

Schneiderman’s office opened the investigation in the “God View” case after several very public incidents surrounding inappropriate access and display of riders’ geo-location information, according to the release. One of the most prominent incidents surrounded Buzzfeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan, who alleged that Uber’s New York general manager Josh Mohrer told her when the two met at the company’s New York headquarters that he had just been “tracking” her.

The settlement also resolves a separate incident last year involving a data breach where Uber names and driver license numbers were accessed by an unauthorized third party. Under the agreement announced Wednesday, Uber is to pay a $20,000 penalty for failure to provide timely notice to drivers and the AG’s office regarding the data breach.