Samuel Spangenberg, former employe of Uber, alleges in court documents that Uber employees are able to track anyone using a real-time “aerial” program called God View. This declaration was submitted to the California courts and follows a lawsuit against Uber where Spangenberg is alleging wrongful termination, defamation, and age discrimination. Uber generally denied each claim in their response.
According to Reveal, they spoke with five former Uber employees who all said that employees could easily track customers. Michael Sierchio, who had previously worked for Uber as a Senior Security Engineer said “When I was at the company, you could stalk an ex or look up anyone’s ride with the flimsiest of justifications” and that “It didn’t require anyone’s approval.”
initially the God View application was investigated by the New York Attorney General, but the investigation was later expanded to review the timeline of a data breach that was reported in 2015. In January of this year, Uber was fined $20,000 for “its failure to report unauthorized third-party access to drivers’ personal information in a timely fashion”. This was because they had waited until February 26, 2015 to report a data breach that had occurred “on or about May 12, 2014”
As part of the settlement, Uber was to remove “all personally identifiable information of riders from its system that provides an aerial view of cars active in a city, has limited employee access to personally identifiable information of riders, and has begun auditing employee access to personally identifiable information in general.”
In addition, Uber had also implemented a pop-up message warning employees that their activity was being monitored as well as searches for customers considered “MVPs.” were flagged. However, the employees Reveal interviewed said that “not much had changed since January and the new policies were never enforced”.