Uber causing stir by tracking riders' location up to 5-minutes after ride ends

Posted at 11:40 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 06:10:17-05

A new update to Uber is causing a stir across the country.


Uber users are learning that their location can be tracked for up to five minutes after their ride is over.


While some people do not mind their location being tracked, others consider it an invasion of privacy.


After a night on the town, Uber is a good option for a safe ride home.


“It’s great when you can look at your phone and see they’ll be here in three minutes,” said Uber user Howard Webb.


Other Uber users agree. “Every time we’ve used it, they’ve been there in a matter of a few minutes,” said Tom Hall.


GPS leads a driver right to where a rider is located and then to where they want to be dropped off.


But, even when you end your ride, the GPS can still be running in the background.


Uber says tracking their users location for extended time helps improve pickups, drop offs, customer service and safety.


Privacy expert Jon Garon says it can help Uber collect powerful data. “Uber is unique in that it’s already collecting a lot of data about where you’re picked up, where you’re dropped off and your travel patterns,” Garon said.


It makes sense to Webb. “It’s probably because they can make money on it.”


He’s not concerned about being tracked the next time he uses Uber. “What difference does it make? Maybe people that are going into a crack house would have a problem with it. But, if you’re a normal human being, you don’t really give a damn,” Webb said.


“I guess it’s a privacy issue, but it doesn’t affect me that much,” Hall agreed.


Other Uber users aren’t as sure. 


“Once I get to my destination, it’s none of their business where I go or what I do,” said an Uber user who wanted to remain anonymous.


An Uber driver showed our sister station, WPTV why he says riders do not need to worry about their safety.


He says drivers can not track their riders' location after the ride. It’s data that is only tracked by upper-level staff, he said.


“We can’t track anybody.”


You can opt out of being tracked by adjusting your location settings on your phone.


That would change the convenience of the app automatically tracking your pick up location, and instead, you would have to manually enter your pickup address.