According to a report from the CBC, ride sharing service Uber is facing some criticism over user privacy.
The criticism started when a blogger claiming to be a security researcher looked into the code behind the Uber app. When looking at the code on Android he noticed that Uber’s mobile app has access to SMS, camera, Wi-Fi, contacts, and calendar.
The company clarified the reasoning behind having access to most of these features. Uber says the app needs access to contacts and calendar for a feature that allows users ti send an SMS if they are running late.
The app needs Wi-Fi capabilities to help improve location accuracy when the GPS signals are low. On Android, the user must accept all the permissions before they are allowed to download an app, however, on iOS the app will ask the user to verify permission access upon first launch or first use of a specific in-app feature. In an email to CBC Canadian spokesperson for Uber Xavier Van Chau said:
“This is not unique to Uber, and downloading the Uber app is of course optional. I think people should be concerned if companies aren’t open about it, and that’s the main issue here.”
Of course, Uber is not the only app that is coming under attack when it comes to privacy concerns among its users.
“Canada’s privacy commissioner’s office recently worked with counterparts around the world to pore over more than 1,200 apps.
Less than a third of those apps provided clear explanations for why they were collecting certain types of data, how they were using what they were collecting and what their disclosure policies were.”
In-app privacy is not the only concern Uber is currently facing. Many cities around the world, including Toronto, are in talks to ban the ride sharing platform over claims that it is taking revenue away from the local taxi business.
Uber has not responded to any comments regarding user privacy.