I’m excited to celebrate Data Privacy Day with my fellow privacy professionals, Uber employees, partners, and customers around the world. Data privacy and security have never been more important in how we use technology to make our lives easier, more convenient, or more connected to the people and communities we care about. As Uber creates new transportation and earning opportunities, data privacy and protection are essential to our goals.
Data Privacy Day takes place every year on January 28, to commemorate Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty to address privacy and data protection (signed on January 28, 1981). The celebration began in Europe and grew into a global effort dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of respecting privacy and safeguarding data.
Privacy at Uber
One of Uber’s most important business goals is to continuously enhance the trust and safety of our platform, including data privacy. Today, I want to provide more insight into our commitment to privacy, our privacy teams, and the tools we build to help you manage your privacy preferences and exercise more control over your experience with our apps.
The privacy teams at Uber consist of legal, public policy, and technical experts dedicated to meeting a large set of regulatory requirements, creating and enforcing data privacy and security policies, and building new privacy-enhancing technologies. We do all of this to protect the privacy of employees and the people using our platforms and services. This is often a complex challenge since privacy laws around the world are not always harmonized and are rapidly evolving, as are the technologies we all use every day. To meet our privacy goals, we need creative and practical solutions. This makes innovation a critical part of building privacy into our technology and business practices. We see privacy and innovation as complementary because they enhance each other.
Privacy You Can Feel
Our privacy teams collaborate with Uber developers early in the process to help build your experience with our apps. For example, the Uber app has evolved a lot over the years and we’ve maintained the ability for riders to use our service without enabling location services on your phone. You can still manually input your pickup and destination location, even using cross streets if you prefer not to share an exact address.
One of the internal tools our privacy teams use is a holistic review process that includes a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). This looks at how our technology collects, uses, shares, or stores personal information. PIAs help us put privacy controls in the places where they matter most and they’re part of our Privacy-by-Design program.
Our privacy product team is responsible for building tools and features in our mobile apps that can help protect your privacy while using Uber’s services. You can find some of these features in the privacy settings menu, including controls for when you share location data, what kind of notifications you receive from us, and the ability to delete your account.
Some of our other privacy protections might be less obvious. For example, riders and drivers can call or chat with each other directly in the Uber app, so you don’t need to share your phone number. Additionally, we started hiding precise pickup and dropoff locations in the driver app after a trip ends to help protect information about rider locations. This feature is already available in the U.S. and is expanding to additional markets.
We also continuously evaluate the value, performance, and user experience of features that collect data. In response to feedback from our riders, we retired multiple features last year including some optional ones that allowed you to sync your calendar and contacts with the Uber app.
We know privacy is important to you, and it’s important to me, too. We hope you will take the time to review your privacy settings in the Uber app, and we look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months. Until then, enjoy Data Privacy Day!