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Privacy Alert: Uber Now Tracks Passengers After They’ve Been Dropped Off

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Privacy concerns are being raised regarding Uber’s latest update, which continues to track riders, even after they have completed their trip.

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In last month’s update of the app, customers are prompted to give permission for Uber to collect location data even when they are not using the app. This includes tracking riders for five minutes after the end of their ride, even if the app is not open.

“The company will use this information to improve drop-offs and pick-ups, which have consistently been a pain point for Uber and other ride-hailing services. The most common reason for riders and drivers to contact each other is to communicate their location when the app does not provide an accurate pinpoint, and Uber hopes to cut down on confusion during pick-up,” TechCrunch detailed.

The ride-sharing service hopes that this update will allow them to determine how often a rider has to cross a street to get to their destination, which the company says can be a safety hazard. Uber also hopes that having more data will provide them with more insights which they can use to improve the accuracy of their pin drop feature.

"We’re always thinking about ways we can improve the rider experience from sharpening our ETA estimates to identifying the best pick up location on any given street. Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we’re asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals," an Uber spokesperson told Sputnik News.

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Privacy experts are not pleased with this move. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) noted in a comment about the update that they have previously filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Uber’s collection of user data.

"The FTC failed to act and Uber is now tracking users non-stop," EPIC said in a statement.

Uber contends that they are not collecting information all the time, but only after a ride is requested and for five minutes after it ends. They maintain that this was only possible with the "always" permission.

The privacy organization also noted that Uber is currently facing legal action as the European Court of Justice debates whether it should be considered a transportation service, and so subject to the same rules as competitors, or a digital platform, which operates outside of transportation and service regulations.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) told NPR that the update “raises questions” and asserted that he will be looking into the issue.

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