A new feature update on the Uber App in India that allows tracking the location of a passenger after the ride is completed, has raised privacy concerns.
According to reports, the feature asks the app user to give his or her consent to the company to track their location before, during and up to five minutes after they have undertaken a cab ride.
This is how the feature currently works: A giant pop-up asks you to grant location access or enter pickup address greets you when you open the app. This means you cannot change payment information, check previous rides or rate drivers from Uber's app if you don't grant it access to your location - even when you're not looking to book a cab. Uber maintains they have introduced this feature with the sole purpose of improving pickups, drop offs, customer service and safety.
In the past, Uber has been questioned in the United States for violating privacy laws and has admitted that their employees could have tracked journalists, politicians and popular celebrities with the aim of stalking them.
This data can not only be used for marketing purposes, but also due to the increasing number of security breaches in large companies, allowing an app to store your location data can be extremely risky.
Switching off this feature makes booking a cab with Uber app extremely difficult and there is no option to change the payment option, check previous rides or rate drivers.
It has been suggested that Uber could have alternatively created an opt-in process and asked people to help improve pickup and drop data, rather than imposing this facility on the travelling public and making the app unusable if they don't do so.