Not so long ago, Uber rolled out new passenger safety features in the hope of assuaging concerns over potential risks associated with taking a ride from the transportation giant. And now it’s stepping up its game even further. In a soon-to-be-launched pilot program, the San Francisco-based giant will begin hiding passengers’ exact pickup and drop-off locations in the trip history available to drivers. Rather than pinpointing where you are and where you’re going, the Uber app will instead show drivers a more general location. The goal, of course, is to improve rider privacy and safety, and limit the degree to which location data is exposed.
As it stands, Uber shows its drivers exactly where they dropped off and picked up their riders in the ride history section of the app. These addresses are stored in the driver’s trip history, which means that theoretically, he or she can scroll through the app at any time to check out where passengers might live or which locations they frequent. In fact, this information remains in the app even if the passenger deletes the associated account. Naturally, this presented some cause for concern, but Uber is now taking steps to address the issue.
“Location data is our most sensitive information, and we are doing everything we can do to protect privacy around it,” an Uber spokesperson said. “The new design provides enough information for drivers to identify past trips for customer support issues or earning disputes without granting them ongoing access to rider addresses.”
The pilot program will also aid Uber’s efforts to comply with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation, which requires companies to both delete user data and give users access to their own data. When this new feature goes public, it will effectively do both.
It’s unclear exactly when the rollout of the feature will be complete, but rest assured it is coming soon.
“Obviously with this being a new feature focused on privacy, we want to make sure it successfully meets that goal before pushing it out broadly,” an Uber spokesperson said. “However, regardless of design/UX tweaks needed, we fully intend on making this a default setting in the coming months.”
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