What The Uber?! Uber decides to play God

The “God View” displayed at an Uber event in Boston. (Screenshot from Uber’s Facebook page)

Uber, the tech company valued at over 50 billion dollars, has shown the world that they are here to stay. Since Uber’s inception in 2009, this tech giant now operates in 57 countries around the world, delivers goods to thousands of people, and can even be found competing with Google to build the first driverless taxi. While Uber certainly is allowed bragging rights over their laundry list of accomplishments, they have also been known to take their “power” a little too far.

Our newest What The Uber Friday focuses on Uber’s “God View” tool, which is essentially a tracking tool that allows Uber’s corporate employees to track and follow any Uber vehicle and/or customer who has requested a car. Essentially these Uber employees can play “big brother” and follow any given person’s Uber ride in the world, from the comfort of their desk.

The God View tool is generally kept pretty quiet, but recently a couple instances of journalists finding out they were being tracked secretly by Uber executives has caused this controversial tool to surface in the media. One Buzzfeed journalist reported that an Uber executive admitted to her that he was tracking her car on her way to a meeting with him. Another instance involved a venture capitalist who started receiving unsolicited texts from an Uber executive while he was in an Uber car – the texts stated that he was being tracked for fun at an Uber launch party in Chicago.

At this point in time the God View tool is “widely available” to those working for Uber at a corporate level. Uber’s privacy policy does state that its employees are prohibited to look at customer rider histories except for “legitimate business purposes.” However, with the widespread availability of the God View tool, there are bound to be a few, dare we say Uber stalkers, that misuse this tool. The Verge actually puts it quite nicely, “It makes sense for the company to have a tool to track its legions of drivers, but by threatening journalists, trying to sabotage the competition, and even by naming the system “God View,” Uber has created a trust issue by demonstrating such a startlingly cavalier approach to its business.”


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