Identity protection is not just a nice-to-have but a necessity for tech companies to have in today’s risky online climate.
As such, it’s not too shocking that there is an advocacy group that exists with the sole purpose of challenging the tech industry on privacy issues. The latest company to fall victim to an alleged violation against consumer privacy is ride-sharing app Uber.
In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday, it was alleged that Uber still had access to iPhone devices even after people deleted the app. The group also asked the FTC to look into the same issue for Android devices.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Uber’s app had the capability of assigning a unique “fingerprint,” so the company could identify devices with the app and those who have deleted it with the intention of hindering account fraud. The only issue here is that this practice violates iPhone’s app maker rules. It was also made known that Uber put up a “geo-fence” around Apple’s Cupertino headquarters to try to hide this practice of tracking iPhones.
Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director, John M. Simpson, commented on this issue in particular: “The fact that they apparently geo-fenced the Apple headquarters so the engineers there couldn’t figure out what was happening exacerbates the situation and implies they knew what they were doing, and they were being deceptive about it.”
Although Uber’s spokesperson said in a statement that the company flat out does not track individual users after they’ve deleted the app, it maintains that this practice of fingerprinting is necessary to detect fraudulent transactions.