Sen. Franken calls for Uber to clarify privacy policies

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has sent a letter to Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick calling for the company to clarify its data privacy protection policies.

The letter comes in the wake of Uber executive Emil Michael’s comments made over the weekend that the company should hire opposition researchers to investigate journalists who are critical of the company. BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith was in attendance. Michael believed he was speaking off the record at the time.

Kalanick apologized for Michael’s remarks on Tuesday.

“The policies made available on your website do not in any clear way match or support what your company has stated in the wake of [Uber executive Emil] Michael’s reported statements,” Franken said in the letter made available Wednesday evening. “This raises serious concerns for me about the scope, transparency, and enforceability of Uber’s policies.”

Uber says it is investigating a New York general manager for allegedly accessing a BuzzFeed News reporter’s travel logs without her permission. 

Uber updated and clarified the company’s privacy policies on Tuesday.

Franken listed 10 questions in his letter, among them…

  • What Mr. Michael is reported to have said sounds like it was intended to have a chilling effect on journalists covering Uber. Was any disciplinary action taken as a result of Mr. Michael’s statements?
  • To whom is the so-called “God view” tool made available and why? What steps are you taking to limit access?
  • What training is provided to employees, as well as contractors and affiliates, to ensure that your company’s policies, as well as relevant state and federal laws, are being followed? In light of Mr. Michael’s recent comments, how do you plan to improve this training?

Franken ended his letter by saying he expects answers by Dec. 15.

Read Franken’s full letter below –

Sen. Al Franken’s letter to Uber CEO by bwallCST

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