REPORT: Uber Found To Be Tracking Users Who Deleted The App From Their Phones
In a New York Times profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, it's come to light that the ride-sharing company had been caught secretly tracking users who had deleted the app.
The revelation nearly got Uber banned from the Apple iOS app store.
The New York Times reports:
For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.
But Apple was onto the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.
Kalanick ultimately agreed to comply with Cook's request.
In a statement issued to tech/culture site The Verge, Uber said:
"We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they've deleted the app.
"As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users."