It never rains but it pours. Such is life over at ridesharing firm Uber these days, which can now add to the list of its recent woes news of an FTC investigation for alleged privacy violations by the recently under siege carsharing company.
What exactly has brought on the FTC’s interest in Uber remains to be seen — though some have speculated that the use of “god view” by employees meant that politicians and celebrities could be effectively stalked through the app.
That explanation would be in-line with recent FTC actions and investigations, as the regulatory body has taken a increased interest in privacy as it relates to big tech. Google settled with the FTC in 2012 for undisclosed data tracking in the Safari web browser for $22.5 million. A year earlier, Facebook agreed to 20 years worth of privacy audits after FTC allegations they had ignored their own in-house policies.
What stage the Uber investigation is at — or what charges may or may not be filed — remain up in the air.
The investigation could well go away without any charges being filed. However, even if it does not end with charges or a fine, it will still be expensive and time-consuming for Uber — and hitting at a less than opportune time, as CEO and founder Travis Kalanick just announced he would take some time off to grieve his mother, who passed away last month. Kalanick had faced strong criticism from many, many corners for a series of PR boondoggles at Uber that have been leaking out across the wires for the last several months.
Neither Uber nor the FTC commented on the reported probe.