Uber Tracked Journalist With Company Tool Called ‘God View’

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Ridesharing service Uber is conducting an internal investigation into a potential violation of its privacy policy by its top executive in New York, who allegedly tracked the location of a journalist using a company tool called “God View.”

Uber New York general manager Josh Mohrer reportedly used God View, which tracks the real-time location of Uber vehicles and customers requesting rides, to follow BuzzFeed writer Johana Bhuiyan during her ride to Uber headquarters in Long Island earlier this month.

Bhuiyan was on her way to interview Mohrer, and upon pulling up in front of the building, found the Uber exec waiting for her.

“I was tracking you,” Mohrer said while pointing to his phone, BuzzFeed reports.

Former Uber employees cited in the BuzzFeed report said God View is not accessible by drivers, but is “widely available” to employees at the corporate level.

According to Uber’s privacy policy, employees are forbidden from looking at users’ rider history outside of “legitimate business purposes,” making Mohrer’s tracking of Bhuiyan without her permission a potential violation of that policy.

The ridesharing service publicly released the policy for the first time this week after Uber’s senior vice-president of business Emil Michael said Uber should spend $1 million to hire a team of researchers to investigate the personal lives of journalists who write stories critical of the company.

November’s interview wasn’t the first time Mohrer pulled up private data about Bhuiyan without her permission, according to the reporter, who said Mohrer sent her logs of her trips months ago in an email exchange.

The Verge reports San Francisco magazine journalist Ellen Cushing said this week she was warned recently that Uber employees were looking at her rider logs to determine who she was speaking to at the company for a story about Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Kalanick said on Twitter yesterday that Michael’s remarks “do not represent the company.”

“Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company,” Kalanick wrote. “His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals.”

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