SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Assembly Bill 886 (Chau) will protect the personal information and credit card records of passengers using transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber. The Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee hears AB 886 on April 20.
AB 886 addresses privacy abuses of the $41 billion Uber. Recently, Uber's New York manager confronted a journalist with her Uber ride logs that he had accessed without her consent. Uber granted a job applicant several hours of access to passenger records on a company computer. He looked at the travel records of politicians' families. The Washington Post speculated that hostile powers could hack Uber's records to spy on government officials.
Fortune magazine reported hackers had obtained account records of thousands of Uber users and offered them for sale on "dark" websites visited by criminals.
AB 886 will establish consumer privacy rights that apply to TNCs and to taxicab-hailing smartphone apps, by:
- Prohibiting requesting, requiring or disclosing personally identifiable passenger data including names, email addresses, phone numbers, location and trip data, and credit card information, except to complete a consumer-initiated transaction or to combat fraud or other crime
- Allowing a customer to cancel a TNC account, which requires the TNC to destroy any personally identifiable information associated with that account
"Limiting the data collected by ridesharing mobile applications does not reduce the functionality and availability to consumers that use and love them," said Assembly Member Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park). "On the contrary, this legislation is not about limiting the consumer, it is about giving the consumer ownership of their privacy, which can be the subject of abuse under certain circumstances. It's time to put the consumer in the driver seat when it comes to who controls their personal information instead of having them take a backseat!"
AB 886 supporters include Consumer Federation of California (bill sponsor), California NOW, CALPIRG, Common Sense Media, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and California ACLU.
Entrepreneur Peter Sims is an Uber privacy victim. Sims received a text message from a magazine columnist, asking if he was riding in an Uber car at a specific Manhattan location.
"I replied that I was indeed, thinking that she must be in an adjacent car," Sims later blogged. It turned out the woman had texted him from an Uber party. "The party featured a screen that showed where certain 'known people' … were currently riding in Uber cabs," Sims wrote, expressing "outrage … that the company would use my information and identity to promote its services without my permission." Sims supports AB 886, stating, "It's time that Uber stops thinking it's above the law."
"Passenger privacy is a right that should be protected by law, not by voluntary corporate policies that can change at any time. AB 886 will protect consumers from unwarranted data collection by big transportation businesses," Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California said.
SOURCE Consumer Federation of California