Uber Slapped with Privacy Checkups for Deceiving Users

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The U.S. government has settled a lawsuit with Uber for misleading the ride-sharing app’s users on its privacy and security practices.

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Tuesday that San-Francisco based Uber has agreed to 20 years of audits by a third-party to ensure the company is following a comprehensive privacy program.

The watchdog agency determined that Uber deceived its users and failed to protect the privacy of both riders and drivers by allowing its employees access to personal information, including trip details.

“Uber failed consumers in two key ways: first by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees’ access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data,” said FTC acting chairwoman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a statement.

“This case shows that, even if you’re a fast growing company, you can’t leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.”

The FTC launched its investigation into Uber in late 2014 after reports of an internal monitoring tool coined “God View,” a program that allowed employees to track users—including politicians, celebrities and journalists—during rides. The agency also looked into a major data breach in May 2014 where hackers stole the names and license numbers of 100,000 Uber drivers.

After agreeing to the new measures, Uber assured its customers that the company had “significantly strengthened” their privacy and security practices since 2014.

“In 2015, we hired our first Chief Security Officer and now employ hundreds of trained professionals dedicated to protecting user information. This settlement provides an opportunity to work with the FTC to further verify that our programs protect user privacy and personal information,” wrote Uber in a statement to Forbes.

A shadow has been cast on the ride-sharing company after sexual misconduct allegations and reports of a toxic work environment pushed Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. Just last week, major stakeholder Benchmark Capital filed a lawsuit against Kalanick to push the CEO off the company’s board.

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