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Lyft employees reportedly abused customer tracking data

Current or former employees may have abused the privacy of Lyft users.


Christina Bonnington


Published Jan 26, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 3:13 am CDT

Uber may not be the only ride-sharing app with a “god view.” Lyft is investigating anonymously posted allegations that some employees abused their position by spying on customers” private data.

A current or former Lyft employee shared on the anonymous workplace app Blind that some employees would snoop on some customers’ private trip data, the Information reported Thursday. Specifically, they’d track the trips of former romantic partners, or look at the ride data of celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg.

Unfortunately Blind doesn’t verify the content of posts in any way. The only verification it requires is a work email address for the company you purportedly work for so you can partake in the app’s private company channels. With that in mind, it’s possible that the allegations could be false, but Lyft is taking responsibility and investigating the claims.

“Maintaining the trust of passengers and drivers is fundamental to Lyft,” spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in an emailed statement to BBC News. “The specific allegations in this post would be a violation of Lyft’s policies and a cause for termination, and have not been raised with our legal or executive teams.”

Uber got in hot water for its “god view” capabilities, which date back to at least 2011 when it showed off the real-time tracking map at a party in Chicago. At the event, Uber showed attendees a real-time map of Uber car locations, as well as a map showing the whereabouts of roughly 30 notable New York City Uber users. Uber earned widespread criticism for its “god view” tool in 2014 and 2015, and faced more recent scrutiny for similar behavior used to track its competitors.

According to Lyft, its system is different. Access to any “god view”–type data is exclusively limited to certain teams that need that information as part of their job. In these cases, Lyft logs each query, and each query is tagged to the employee who made it.

On top of that: “Employees are required to sign confidentiality and responsible use agreements that bar them from accessing, using, or disclosing customer data outside the confines of their job responsibilities,” Lyft said.

Based on its transparency and response to this possibly baseless claim, Lyft clearly takes data privacy seriously. If the company does indeed have its query-logging measures in place, Lyft should eventually be able to discover if any current or former employees have been taking their access too far.

H/T BBC News

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*First Published: Jan 26, 2018, 11:34 am CST