Uber Bikes to Los Angeles: Hands Off Our Data!

Once again, Uber is putting up a fight.  But this time, it’s not fighting to run a taxi service without calling it that, or keep drivers as contract workers, or even protect surge pricing.  Instead, the company is fighting the city of Los Angeles, which wants almost-real time data on trips aboard Uber’s new electric bike rental service.

Uber Technologies Inc said it would not share real-time location data of its electric bike riders with the city of Los Angeles, saying it would violate their privacy.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) had sought the data and has threatened to suspend the company’s license to operate the electric bike service, Jump, unless it complies with its request.

The company said:

“We believe that LADOT’s requirements to share sensitive on-trip data compromises our customers’ expectations of data privacy and security. Therefore, we had no choice but to pursue a legal challenge.”

Maybe.  Or perhaps the company doth protest too much.

LADOT granted Uber a license to operate the bike rental company with the condition that Uber provide information on where trips begin, their paths, where they end, and the duration.  LADOT wants to make sure the bikes don’t travel through restricted zones or end up dumped in areas that don’t permit bike parking.

LADOT could higher hundreds of employees to search for the bikes, but UBER already has the data.

If UBER turns over the data and it shows violations, then UBER gets charged.  That makes it easier to understand why UBER’s not hot on handing out the information.

As for privacy, clients already gave that up when they decided to use Uber in the first place.

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