Ride-hailing giants data sharing policies irks users

Published: January 29, 2019
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IHC directs issuance of ‘speaking order’ within a month, disposes of petition. PHOTO: FILE

IHC directs issuance of ‘speaking order’ within a month, disposes of petition. PHOTO: FILE

With the increasing popularity of ride-hailing services, companies are bound to come under the spotlight. The Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) has compiled a report on the use of ride-sharing apps namely Uber and Careem.

The report titled Ride-Sharing Apps and Privacy in Pakistan: A detailed study on the practices of Uber and Careem aims to start a conversation on the use of technology in urban cities and their repercussions including privacy concerns faced specifically by female customers.

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While Careem and Uber have brought a convenient and cost-effective mode of transportation in Pakistan, the government has failed to reach a consensus on the right form of regulation for ride-hailing companies.

DRF undertook extensive research into the two apps to identify the shortcomings and perhaps also offer a solution to the companies so that data remains secure and there are fewer instances of data breaches.

“According to our survey, 82% of customers indicated that they were not comfortable with Uber / Careem sharing their data with third parties. However, we know that both these companies are able to do so as per their business models,” said Nighat Dad, Executive Director at DRF.

She further added that while the companies are providing a much-needed service, they need to also look into other much important functions such as “transparency, data privacy, and gender sensitivity”.

Careem responded to the questions posed by the authors of the report suggesting that data collection is “part of their operations because, amongst other things, it allows them to monitor and thwart fraudulent activities from captains and clients and helps Careem respond quickly in the event that a captain or client is in an emergency situation”.

According to the report, Uber failed to cooperate regarding queries related to data sharing.

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The DRF findings show that the government and the company themselves need to ensure the protection of the users’ data and the reliability of its drivers and customers. Similarly, the creation of a safe space for females using the app should be guaranteed.

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