Uber Investigating NY Exec Who Tracked Journalist

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November 19, 2014 9:17 a.m.

Uber is investigating its general manager in New York for tracking a Buzzfeed reporter’s rides without her permission, the news outlet reported Tuesday.

Buzzfeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan wrote that when Uber’s Josh Mohrer met her for an interview earlier this month, he greeted her as she stepped out of an Uber car by saying “There you are. I was tracking you.”

Two months prior to that meeting, Bhuiyan writes, Mohrer had emailed her logs of her Uber rides in response to questions she had asked about one of the company’s competitors, a ride-sharing company called Lyft.

Mohrer never asked for permission to track Bhuiyan in either case, she wrote.

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Two anonymous former Uber employees told Buzzfeed that an internal company tool called “God View” gave corporate employees — but not drivers — easy access to the locations of Uber vehicles and customers who requested a ride.

This Buzzfeed report comes in the wake of its editor-in-chief Ben Smith’s explosive scoop about a senior executive’s suggestion that the company smear journalists who write critically of Uber.

In response to that story, Uber published its privacy policy for the first time Tuesday on its blog.

“Uber has a strict policy prohibiting all employees at every level from accessing a rider or driver’s data,” the policy states.

There are exceptions to that policy for “legitimate business purposes,” including monitoring for fraudulent activity and facilitating payment transactions for drivers.

Asked for confirmation that the company is investigating Mohrer, an Uber spokesperson sent TPM the following statement:

“Our data privacy policy applies to all employees: access to and use of data is permitted only for legitimate business purposes. 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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