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Uber has hired its first executive solely focused on protecting users’ data.
The ride-sharing company hired a chief privacy officer, Ruby Zefo, who will be “responsible for the development and implementation of privacy standards, procedures, and processes in every market where we operate,” Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West wrote in a company-wide memo.
Zefo’s new position is “a critical global role,” West wrote. Uber has employed privacy professionals before, but never someone of this senior level.
The new hire comes after the massive start-up has grappled with several high-profile breaches of customers’ data. One major data leak that occurred in 2016 saw hackers abscond personal information from 57 million Uber users accounts. Uber caught heat from federal regulators for allegedly not disclosing all the details of that breach to its customers.
In fact, the company just settled the case with the Federal Trade Commission in April. The case stated that Uber did not alert customers of the breach until it had paid the hackers $100,000 to destroy the data. As part of the settlement, Uber has agreed to disclose all future hacks to the FTC.
Industry experts were a bit puzzled that such a mammoth tech company has not hired such a position yet.
“It’s surprising to me that this company, which has had such high profile privacy failures and is sitting on such a large body of personal data had yet to hire a CPO or face significant public pressure to do so,” Woodrow Hartzog, a law and computer science professor at Northeastern University, told CNN.
Additionally, Uber hired Simon Hania as the its first data protection officer — a position mandated by the European Union. Hania will be based in Amsterdam and ensure Uber’s compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and other EU data protection laws.
Zefo, the chief privacy officer, is also a board member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. She will start on August 6.
Featured image by PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images.
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