Lyft Investigates Claims of Spying on Passengers, Including Mark Zuckerberg

Jan 26, 2018

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Lyft, the ride-hailing company that brands itself as the more friendly version of Uber, is in hot water. The Information reported yesterday that Lyft is investigating allegations that its current or former employees tracked Lyft riders and accessed their information when they weren’t supposed to.

Employees were allegedly tracking romantic partners and even celebrities, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Lyft told The Information that its engineers do have access to personal information but that they “hadn’t received any internal complaint about the matter.”

We asked Lyft to comment on the allegations, but the company had yet to get back to us by the time of publishing this story. A Lyft spokeswoman did tell The Information that “Maintaining the trust of passengers and drivers is fundamental to Lyft. The specific allegations in this post would be a violation of Lyft’s policies and a cause for termination.”

The issue first came to light on the app Blind, which allows employees and former employees to post about their employer in an anonymous forum.

Lyft employees had “seen people look their exes up” and “check to see if their significant other actually went where they said, and stalk attractive people they’ve met.”

“I’ve heard at least one employee brag about having Zuck’s [Mark Zuckerberg] phone number from using our data. Another employee has bragged about collecting the info of Hollywood actresses and porn stars,” the poster said.

“I’m sorry, this has bothered me way too long and it’s gone unchanged for too long for me to not say anything,” said the anonymous person. “The abuse I’ve seen needs to be curbed and access restricted.”

In 2014, it was revealed that Uber had a “God View” tool that employees used to track riders locations in real time on a map. Some of those being tracked were celebrities, politicians and ex-girlfriends. The Information said that an ex-Lyft employee told them that customer data contains the latitude and longitude of pickups and drop-offs, but no maps. They also said that abuse of data is “probably possible.”

A Lyft spokeswoman also told The Information:

“We require employees to be trained in our data privacy practices and responsible use policy, which categorically prohibit accessing and using customer data for reasons other than those required by their specific role at the company.  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.”

The former Lyft employee confirmed that Lyft keeps logs of which employees look up customer information.

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