A disruptive tech company must respect the privacy of its users

Whilst you were in the midst of your latest Uber ride, Uber has been riding through a hellish PR battle.  It all started with Uber executive, Emil Michael’s statement at a private dinner that suggested that Uber might use technology to track the movements of journalists who have been critical to the company.   He suggested that Uber could see the travel movements of its customers using something it calls ‘God View’.

There has been a sharp reaction in the States about Uber’s willingness to play loose with user’s private information.   Its study of user data saw it publish a blog in September 2013 headed ‘How Crime Location Knowledge Is A Proxy For Uber Demand’.   That blog, since removed, says Uber is a data driven company with so many ways that its data can be viewed.   That blog linked high Uber demand with crimes like prostitution, robbery and theft in the San Francisco area.

A company that analyses its data to determine where its service is required needs to show the up most respect to the user who is making that data available through their use of the service.  No matter how disruptive a company is trying to be, it must protect its brand equity by providing positive experiences around its brand – playing fast and loose with private information is out of the question.

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