Apr 24, 2017

Uber clarifies it doesn't track users who have deleted the app

BYPankaj Mishra

A day after a New York Times report claimed that Apple in 2015 threatened to kick Uber out of App Store for flouting the rules, the ride-hailing company replied on Monday, saying that it does not track users who have deleted the app from their iPhones.
The NYT report said on Sunday that Apple CEO Tim Cook convened a meeting with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2015 when he found Uber was directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers.
Cook reportedly warned Kalanick, “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules. Stop the trickery or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.”
“We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. 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,” Uber told technology website Engadget in a statement on Monday.
According to the NYT report, the reason behind Uber’s move was to keep Apple from finding out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app was deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection manoeuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.
“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,” Uber said in its statement.
Had Uber’s app been kicked out of App Store, the ride-hailing company would have lost access to millions of iPhone customers, destroying its business.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.