Guidelines for Public Health Authorities
As part of Uber’s commitment to safety, Uber works closely with public health authorities around the world, including in response to outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”). These guidelines explain how Uber responds to requests from public health authorities (“PHAs”) for user data (e.g., account/subscriber information), and the steps it may take after receiving such requests.
Public Health Disclosures
Uber may disclose user information to PHAs if Uber has a good-faith belief that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury
In such situations, Uber may disclose data that it determines is necessary to address the public health issue. This may include contact information that may help public health officials identify and contact users regarding potential exposure to a communicable disease. This may also include information about particular trips during which contact with infected persons may have occurred, such as the duration of the trip. Uber will not share information that is not relevant to the specific needs of the requesting authority, such as historical trip data that predates the emergency of the public health issue.
To submit a request for user data relating to a public health issue, a PHA must:
- certify that they are authorized by law to obtain the requested records;
- certify that the request is, in fact, related to a public health emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury that requires disclosure without delay of information relating to that emergency;
- provide a description of the factual basis underlying the certification that the request is, in fact, related to a public health emergency;
- accept the Terms and Conditions for use of Uber's Public Safety Response Portal; and
- if required by law, follow up with legal process.
Where possible, public health officials should submit requests through the Public Safety Response Portal on official letterhead or in an order.
Uber has processes in place to assist PHAs on a 24/7 basis with such requests, which may be submitted through our Portal at publicsafety.uber.com. For more information about how to submit requests, you can download our Portal User Guide here.
By submitting a disclosure request to Uber, PHAs agree to use the information they receive from Uber only for the purpose for which it was disclosed. Further, PHAs also agree not to share this information with third parties, except in accordance with the purposes for which the information was disclosed.
Uber’s User Notice Policy
Uber will notify users of PHAs’ requests for their data, except where notice is prohibited by law, or where Uber determines in its sole discretion that such disclosure is not necessary or appropriate. Because of the particular sensitivities associated with outreach from PHAs, Uber will not notify users until after its disclosure of information to a PHA.
Placing User Accounts on Hold
Uber may take additional measures to ensure safety on its platform when it becomes aware of a public health emergency in accordance with its Community Guidelines. If Uber receives notice from a PHA that one of its users has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of an infectious disease related to a public health emergency, it will put a temporary hold on the user’s account. Uber may also place temporary holds on the accounts of users that came into close contact with a confirmed case of the infectious disease. Uber will also put a temporary hold on a user’s account pursuant to an order from a PHA.
A temporary hold will bar a user from using certain Uber services until Uber receives confirmation from a PHA or a licensed medical doctor that the user is not contagious. Where a hold is made pursuant to an order, Uber will wait for confirmation from the issuing authority that the user is not contagious before removing the hold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What precautions should I take if I’m concerned about COVID-19?
A: We encourage you to reference the World Health Organization’s advice about protective measures you can take against COVID-19.
Q: Do you notify users if you disclose their data to a PHA?
A: Uber will provide delayed notice to users following the disclosure of their data to a PHA.
Q: I am a public health official and I sent in a demand to Uber but I have not heard back. What should I do?
A: Uber’s Portal allows PHAs to track the status of their request(s) and to send follow-up questions. Uber receives thousands of requests for data every year, including from law enforcement agencies, and triages the requests it receives upon receipt.
Q: What is Uber’s policy for placing holds on user accounts in connection with a public health issue?
A: Uber may put temporary holds on user accounts in connection with a public health issue as described in the “Placing User Accounts on Hold” Section of these guidelines.