Friday, October 06, 2017
Apple's CEO was upset over the app secretly identifying iPhones, even after the app had been deleted, The New York Times reports
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Apple takes the privacy of its iPhone users very seriously.
This is after all the company that famously resisted FBI demands for a backdoor into a terrorist's iPhone.
So it was understandable that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick might have been a bit anxious before a 2015 meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The reason? Kalanick had been directing his engineers to camouflage a feature in the ride-hailing app that allowed Uber to secretly identify and tag iPhone users, even after the app had been deleted from users' phones, according to a wide-ranging profile published Sunday by The New York Times. But Apple was on to the ruse, which violated Apple's app privacy rules.
"So, I've heard you've been breaking some of our rules," Cook reportedly told Kalanick in a calm tone. Cook then demanded Uber stop the deception or face getting yanked from Apple's App Store.
Losing access to millions of iPhone users would destroy Uber's business, so Kalanick complied with Cook's demand, the newspaper reported.
Uber denied using its app to track individual riders' locations, saying the feature was used for fraud detection.
"We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they've deleted the app," Uber said in a statement. "As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone -- over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users."
This isn't the first time Uber has been accused to using software for nefarious purposes. The company was recently caught using a secretive tool called Greyball to thwart efforts by local authorities to catch the ride-hailing company violating local regulations. The company has since said it would stop using the tool for that purpose.
In 2014, an Uber executive allegedly used an internal feature known as "God View" to track a reporter's location without her knowledge. Uber's use of the tool, which allows employees to see logs of Uber customer activity, suggested "a troubling disregard for customers' privacy," Sen. Al Franken, chairman of the Subcommittee On Privacy, Technology and the Law, said in a letter to the company.
The resulting backlash led the company to hire a third-party data-privacy expert to review its policies and provide recommendations.
It wasn't immediately clear if Kalanick's meeting with Cook in 2015 was about the "God View" tool.
Representatives for Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment
Source : CNet/New York Times.
Thursday, October 05, 2017
Taxify is fighting to re-establish in London
Hundreds of protesting taxi drivers bought traffic to a halt in Manchester city centre yesterday afternoon.
The drivers made their way through the city centre demanding action against cabs they say are illegally operating in Manchester. Many of the Illegal cars working in the area are licensed by TfL.
Over 1,000 Taxis journeyed from Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground via Deansgate to Salford at 1pm yesterday afternoon.
They say that other drivers are illegally working in the Manchester borough without the relevant licence and taking their custom.
Instead of securing a Manchester licence up to 6,000 drivers are getting one elsewhere - where they say the process is quicker and easier - and then coming into the city to find fares.
Luckvear Singh, 47, a Manchester driver of five years, said:
"This is having a big effect. They are coming into Manchester because there is more business but they need to have a Manchester licence.
"We have lost a lot of revenue, 30 to 40 per cent, a lot of drivers are now struggling to make ends meet and some are giving up.
"Manchester City Council needs to take action against this and take our protest seriously. The public also needs to be aware what is happening".
Finally, the last taxis involved in the protest made their way out of the city towards Salford and MediaCity.
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Tuesday, October 03, 2017
"Uber Unlikely To Get Its London Licence Back After Emergency Talks With TfL". says Evening Standard
Monday, October 02, 2017
It seems there's been a knock on affect as Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshah has to come to London. TfL and Sadiq Khan refuse to talk to Uber's aggressive UK management. Uber have no alternative but to have a clear out of staff who have failed to operate within the legislated guidelines.
Announced today, first to go is Northern European Manager Jo Bertram, who will leave within the next few weeks.
Speculation builds as the more aggressive Fred Jones is put in the frame to be next to get the chop.
Perhaps the Mayor, who is also chair of TFL's board should take a leaf out of Uber's book and get rid of the TfL management who have aggressively bent over backwards to support the instant hail app.
(Reuters) - Uber's [UBER.UL] top boss in Britain will quit the taxi hailing app, according to an email seen by Reuters on Monday, as the company prepares to meet the London transport regulator in a bid to keep operating in one of its most important foreign markets.
Transport for London (TfL) shocked the San Francisco-based app last month by deeming it unfit to run a taxi service and deciding not to renew its license to operate, citing the firm's approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.
Uber's license expired on Sep. 30 but its roughly 40,000 drivers will be able to take passengers for the Silicon Valley company until an appeals process has been exhausted, which could take several months.
The firm's new global chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will meet the TfL commissioner on Tuesday in London in a move backed by the city's mayor, who has criticized the app's management in the Britain but welcomed Khosrowshahi's apologetic tone and promise of change.
Uber's Northern European Manager Jo Bertram will leave the firm in the next few weeks, according to an email sent to staff seen by Reuters. She said the firm, valued at around $70 billion, needed a replacement in the region to tackle the issues it faces.
"Given some of our current challenges, I’m also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase," she said.
"While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter."
Bertram, who will take up an undisclosed new role elsewhere, will be replaced in her UK role by Uber's London boss Tom Elvidge on an interim basis.
On Tuesday, Khosrowshahi - who has apologized to Londoners for the firm's mistakes- will meet TfL's Commissioner Mike Brown in a bid to repair a fraught relationship between the regulator and the taxi app, which has prompted strong opposition from unions and traditional taxi drivers over working rights.
Uber has until Oct. 13 to submit its appeal, which will be reviewed by a judge.
But TfL's Chairman is Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, a Labour politician who has been critical of the app.
Last week he singled out Uber's management in Britain for criticism.
"The global CEO... seems to recognize some of the issues raised by the decision from TfL," Khan told Channel 4 news.
"I just wish that Uber in the UK would rather than hire an army of PR experts and an army of lawyers, would address some of the issues raised by the TfL decision," he said.
Taxi Leaks Extra Bits :
Email Jo Bertram sent to Uber employees:
Subject Line: Thank you for a brilliant journey
As many of you have just heard at our All Hands meeting, I've decided to move on to something new and exciting. I'm leaving Uber with great memories, friendships and many amazing experiences, and I'll never forget the great things that we've achieved together as a team.
When I showed up on my first day four years ago, at our tiny serviced office in Baker Street, I quickly realised that this company was special - not only in its ambitions, but also in the way we all pulled together. Whether responding to all sorts of customer questions, buying our own laptops, or distributing mobile phones to our early partner drivers, we all had to roll up our sleeves and figure out how to build a business. I had wanted to experience the pace and craziness of life at a start-up, and Uber certainly delivered! I'm tremendously lucky to have spent the last four years with you, and it has been breathtaking to see the team grow so quickly.
When I joined as General Manager for London, we had just three team members in the city and a few hundred drivers. Together, we then rolled out our services to more than 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, where we now serve almost 5 million riders and more than 50,000 drivers. Since I became Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, I've been proud to lead what is now a team of 300 people across 10 countries. I've learned a lot during this rapid expansion and, in every market we entered, you could quickly see the impact we had on the way people travelled and lived their lives.
While we often talk about the growth we've seen, we can also be proud of the progress our team has made in improving the service for both drivers and riders. Though there's always more to be done, we've taken big strides for a young company. From the introduction of discounted illness and injury cover for drivers, to the roll out of ACCESS for wheelchair users and most recently our Clean Air Plan, there are many initiatives we can be proud of. I know there are many more exciting things to come.
Over the course of this year, I've been reflecting on these incredible last four years and what might come next for me. I've also discussed this with Pierre and I'm proud that we've built this business into more than we ever thought possible. And I've realised that taking a nascent company and helping it scale into a major international operation is what I've enjoyed most. An exciting new opportunity has arisen that will allow me to apply what I've learnt here and I'll be able to share more details with you soon.
Given some of our current challenges, I'm also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase. While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I'm proud of the team we've built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter. I'll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition. I'm grateful for everything I've learned in the last four years. This company and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.
Another country where Uber thinks it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
Czech taxi drivers are blocking a major road to Prague's International Airport on Monday (2 October) to protest against Uber and other similar ride-hailing services.
The protest began with taxis driving slowly in both directions on a key road to Prague's Vaclav Havel airport, causing traffic delays.
The protest comes after inconclusive talks between the drivers and City Hall, which says only the government is in a position to address the complaints.
The drivers claim Uber and other ride-hailing apps are illegal because they don't meet all the requirements traditional taxi companies have to.
The airport has advised passengers to use public buses, which drive along a special route not open to other forms of transport.
Recently, Uber had its licence to operate in London withdrawn, although the taxi hailing app is appealing the move against it by Transport for London
Sunday, October 01, 2017
At last, the word about UberRape is getting out to the public. This article to day, appeared in the Sunday Times.
Uber drivers have been accused of more than a dozen sex attacks, including at least two rapes, outside London.
Alleged sexual assaults were reported to six police forces outside the capital, according to data released under freedom of information laws, revealing the scale of the ride-sharing group’s security problems.
Forces in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Avon and Somerset have recorded 13 alleged sex attacks by Uber drivers since 2015.
Greater Manchester police recorded three alleged sexual assaults and one alleged rape by Uber drivers, while South Yorkshire police investigated one alleged sexual assault and an alleged rape. West Yorkshire police recorded three alleged sexual offences involving Uber drivers, while Avon and Somerset investigated two and Warwickshire and Leicestershire each recorded one.
The true number of cases nationwide could be much higher, as 20 of the 45 forces across Britain asked by The Sunday Times for information on Uber’s public safety record either refused to provide figures on the grounds of cost or did not respond.
The 19 forces that did respond either had no cases reported against Uber drivers or recorded offences that were not of a sexual nature. Eleven forces in total revealed that they had recorded reported crimes by Uber drivers, including violence against the person, theft, handling stolen goods and drug offences.
The figures were released as Uber fights to keep operating in the capital after Transport for London (TfL) decided not to renew its licence. The announcement led to speculation that councils across the UK would follow London’s example.
TfL bosses accused the company of failing to ensure passenger safety after the number of alleged sex attacks involving Uber drivers in London rose 50%, to 48, in the 12 months to February 2017.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, will be in London on Tuesday to meet regulators. He hopes to stop the revoking of his company’s licence, which was due to expire last night. Uber will be allowed to continue operating while it appeals against TfL’s decision.
The meeting, which TfL said was instigated by an approach from Uber, comes days after Khosrowshahi wrote an open apology to Londoners, saying “we have got things wrong”.
Uber said: “Drivers who use our app are licensed by a local council and have gone through the same enhanced DBS checks as black cab drivers and others. We take any allegations of this nature seriously, working with the police and preventing drivers using the app while any investigations take place. Our GPS technology means that every trip is electronically tracked and recorded.”