Regulators Want Answers From Uber Over Hidden Hack

Ride-hailing app company Uber, which made news when it covered up a huge data breach that exposed roughly 600,000 driver’s license numbers, could face investigations by regulators around the globe.

According to a report in Fortune published Wednesday (Nov. 22), regulators in the U.K., U.S., Australia and the Philippines are launching inquiries into how Uber handled the data breach. It impacted approximately 57 million people, and Uber responded by paying the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach under wraps for a year.

Lawmakers in the U.S. have called on congressional hearings and asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into the latest scandal at the ridesharing company. 

“We’ve been in touch with several state attorney general offices and the FTC to discuss this issue, and we stand ready to cooperate with them going forward,” Uber said in a company statement. Attorneys general in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York said they were launching their own investigations.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a government agency created to ensure companies are protecting the privacy of their consumers, said the ICO has launched an inquiry into the breach and subsequent actions taken by Uber. As reported by CNBC, ICO deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said the data breach and the company’s responses raise “huge concerns around its data protection policies and ethics. If U.K. citizens were affected, then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed.”

The ICO plans to work with the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre to determine how large the breach was and how many people in the U.K. were impacted by it. They are also looking into what steps Uber needs to take next.  

“Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies,” Dipple-Johnstone said. In fact, the ICO can slap Uber with a fine as high as $661,900.  

The data breach and the inquiry by the ICO are just the latest problems the firm is facing in the U.K. Earlier this year, London’s transport authorities declined Uber’s application to renew its operating license, banning the ridesharing company from operating in the U.K.’s capital.