Uber is to end one of its most controversial practices, as the ride-sharing company says it will no longer track the location of users after they leave the car.
The ride-hailing company, which has suffered a turbulent year of corporate controversy and management mishap, introduced the feature in November, claiming that tracking a user's location for five minutes after they complete their journey improves their safety.
But the feature meant users could no longer limit the app to only track them when it was in use. Instead, they had to allow it to always track them (including for five minutes after each trip), or to never track them at all. The latter means having to manually enter pick-up and drop-off addresses for every journey.
Now the feature is being dropped, Uber customers can set the app to only track their location when it is in use. When they complete their journey, the app will stop tracking then.
The change will come as part of an update to the app, rolling out from 29 August according to Uber security chief Joe Sullivan, who spoke to Reuters. "We've been building through the turmoil and challenges because we already had our mandate," he said.
Sullivan also admitted that Uber implemented the tracker system poorly, updating the app without explaining to users how the change would benefit them. Instead it was met with concerns over privacy and the collection of customer data, something Uber has been criticised of in the past.
Uber's security head admitted the company suffered from "a lack of expertise" in privacy.
The news, which is expected to be formally announced by Uber later today, 29 August, comes as the company prepares to welcome Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief executive officer, replacing ousted company co-founder Travis Kalanick. Khosrowshahi was formerly head of travel-booking company Expedia and, according to Reuters sources, will soon be taking the helm at Uber.
From lawsuits and payouts, to claims of sexual harassment, senior management quitting, being banned from Italy, an autonomous Uber crashing, and Kalanick yelling at one of his drivers, Uber's 2017 quickly turned into a farcical who's who of corporate calamities.
Following the death of his mother in a speedboat accident, Travis departed from the company in June 2017.