Reporter: Sources Warned Me Uber Employees Could Track People

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November 19, 2014 10:18 a.m.

This week, news broke that an Uber executive suggested smearing journalists critical of the company while a general manager with the company accessed a Buzzfeed reporter’s ride logs without her permission.

In a post published Tuesday, San Francisco Magazine editor Ellen Cushing shared that in the past current and former employees of Uber also warned her that corporate higher-ups may access her ride logs.

Cushing cautioned that she couldn’t verify whether the company ever did access her information. But her account lends credence to the existence of “God View,” an internal tool that gives Uber corporate employees access to the locations of Uber drivers and customers who requested a ride. It also shores up Buzzfeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan’s account of being tracked by Uber New York general manager Josh Mohrer, as well as to entrepreneur Peter Sims’ uncanny experience with the service.

Back in September, Sims wrote about an incident that happened a couple of years ago while he was riding an Uber through New York City. Sims wrote that an acquaintance was texting him with updates on exactly where his car was driving before revealing that she was at an Uber Chicago launch party, where Sims’ car was identified and tracked on a screen for partygoers to watch.

Uber said Wednesday that access to riders’ data is permitted only for “legitimate business purposes” and that employees may face discipline if they are found violating the company’s privacy policy.

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“Our data privacy policy applies to all employees: access to and use of data is permitted only for legitimate business purposes,” the company said in a statement. “Data security specialists monitor and audit that access on an ongoing basis. Violations of this policy do result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination and legal action.”

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