Uber Really Is Under Fire!Damien Moye
Yesterday, I blogged about the controversy Uber is in, thanks largely to Business Senior Vice President Emil Michael. Now Congress, including a very prominent US Senator, is getting involved.
The controversy started when VP Michael suggested the media investigate and dig up dirt on a journalist who criticized Uber on her blog. Though this conversation was supposed to be confidential, it leaked out anyway. Mr. Michael apologized for these comments, but that didn’t stop US Senator Al Franken from writing a letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, questioning Uber’s privacy policies. But it’s not just this incident that concerns Senator Franken, who is also Chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. At the infamous dinner party was Uber spokesperson Nairi Hourdajian, who told Michael that such acts would violate Uber’s policies. In a blog yesterday, Nairi Hondajian revealed Uber can access taxi driver and rider data for ‘limited business purposes’, but Senator Franken says the limits weren’t fully described. The Senator checked Uber’s policy on their website, and discovered this policy doesn’t match the policy stated after Mr. Micheal’s slip up. The Senator is troubled by reports of incidents Uber tracking customers. There’s the incident where an employee admitted to using a program called ‘God’s View’ to track a journalist without the journalist’s knowledge or approval. Senator Franken ended the letter with 10 questions for CEO Kalanick to answer and reply to no later than December 15, 2014.
Just when you thought Uber couldn’t get in anymore hot water, now they have one of the most powerful senators in America and his subcommittee to answer to. If these incidents are true, I’m glad Senator Franken is stepping up. Privacy issues have been on the technology forefront for several years now. And it often seems like major corporations have the upper hand. It’s good to have a man in the Senate representing the concerns of many people. If I were CEO Kalanick, I’d get back to Senator Franken before December 15. Could this public relations nightmare get anymore terrifying?