Uber reached an agreement with the New York attorney general's office regarding a probe into its use of the "God View" app. The popular taxi company has agreed to pay a fine and adopt stricter privacy practices in future.
As part of its settlement, Uber has agreed to pay a $20,000 (£13,679; €18,383) fine. The app-based taxi firm also confirmed that it would henceforth ensure that user data is dealt with only by qualified professionals and would be limited to those employees who need it for legitimate purposes.
In accordance with the settlements directives, Uber has also removed all of its customers' identifiable details from its internal servers, promising to promptly inform the attorney general's office, if it ever starts collection of user GPS data in future. The company, however, claimed that it had already adopted all the safety measures requested even before it reached an agreement with the attorney general's office.
Uber's settlement followed accusations that it monitored the whereabouts of users through the GPS. An investigation was launched into the company's business practices after it failed to promptly report a data breach to the authorities. The probe came on the heels of a story published by BuzzFeed News that claimed one of its reporters' rides was tracked without her permission.
The investigation revealed that Uber used an internal app called God View, which was previously available to all its corporate employees. God View showed the location of all Uber vehicles and even customers who had ordered for a cab. The settlement agreement outlines that Uber must now encrypt all GPS-based location data and allow only authorised personnel to access this data, expressly for business purposes.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson for Uber said, "We are deeply committed to protecting the privacy and personal data of riders and drivers".