“I am writing in regard to reports of recent comments and actions by top Uber executives concerning journalists. The reports suggest a troubling disregard for customers’ privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data,” Franken wrote in the letter.
The letter is written in response to the recent comment Uber’s SVP of Business Emil Michael made during an event where he suggested that Uber could look into private information of a journalist who has been critical of the company. Uber released a statement on Tuesday saying it accesses user data only for a “limited set of legitimate business purposes,” but Senator Franken questioned what the “limited set” exactly means.
“The policies made available on your website do not in any clear way match or support what your company has stated in the wake of Mr. Michael’s reported statements. This raises serious concerns for me about the scope, transparency, and enforceability of Uber’s policies,” he wrote.
He goes on to list 10 questions that he asks Kalanick to respond by December 15. Some of the questions include:
- Was any disciplinary action taken as a result of Mr. Michael’s statements?
- Your policies suggest that customers’ personal information and usage information, including geolocation data, is maintained indefinitely – indeed even after an account is terminated. Why? What limits are you considering imposing?
- Under what circumstance would an employee face discipline for a violation of Uber’s privacy policies? Have any disciplinary actions been taken on this basis?
Read the full letter over at the senator’s website.