Uber has never been known to be amongst the best-behaved companies, always running into some issues or the other in all parts of the world. And from what has come to the fore, the ride-sharing firm ran into some serious trouble with Apple back in 2015.
Things started when Uber found a way to track individual iPhones without the owner or Apple being in the loop, a practice commonly known as fingerprinting. That again is something that goes against the Cupertino company’s iOS app privacy regulations. What’s more, the tracking continued even if the user had deleted the app from their device.
Uber then had also gone to great lengths to prevent Apple getting a whiff of their activity, with reports claiming they even geofenced Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Uber had thought that would prevent Apple engineers to become aware of Uber’s activities though it’s just the opposite that happened.
Exactly how Apple got to know of Uber’s follies is not known though its response has been sharp and severe. And it comes right from the top, with CEO Tim Cook bluntly telling his Uber counterpart, Travis Kalanick in a meeting that their app will be pulled from the App Store is they didn’t stop the practice immediately.
Of course, that would have been a body blow to Uber and they had complied immediately. The company though put up a brave face claiming their act was to safeguard their and the user’s interests. It also justified its tracking practices stating that were to prevent anyone using a stolen iPhone and a stolen credit card from taking any rides with the company.
Uber also stated their decision to track user’s iPhones was aimed at dissuading drivers from creating duplicate accounts, or to prevent them to show false rides to increase their ride figures. Valid arguments those might be but Uber has since stated they have stopped tracking user’s iPhones, if their app has been deleted, that is.
What that means is that the tracking is well underway as long as the app is in place. Uber also didn’t reveal how they are dealing with the scenarios that prompted them to attempt tracking user’s iPhones in the first place. Let’s just hope they aren’t into any new mischief.