Uber Says iOS Is Behind Their App Tracking You All The Time

It may be two days before Christmas and one day before Hanukkah, but I don’t feel charitable today.  At least not towards Uber. You might recall that it came to light that among other things Uber’s app was tracking your location all the time. But Uber has a really good explanation for that:

Uber investigated the issue today, at our request, and found the issue is related to the iOS Maps extension. This also explains why not everyone was seeing the problem.

Uber’s map extension feature was made available in September, and is based on Apple’s protocol for Map extensions. Other map extensions from Uber competitors would work the same way, then.

According to an Uber spokesperson: “For people who choose to integrate ride sharing apps with iOS Maps, location data must be shared in order for you to request a ride inside the Maps app. Map extensions are disabled by default and you can choose to turn them on in your iOS settings,” they said.

In other words, it’s not a bug, it’s feature. And it’s a feature of iOS.

There’s two problems with this explanation. I have three other similar extensions that work in the same way that Uber’s extension does. But none of those extensions phones home. What’s worse is that Uber removed location access option “While using the app” and kept “Always” and “Never”. That has nothing to do with the extension behavior in iOS and everything to do with the Uber app. Thus it seems to me that this explanation is disingenuous at best.

I’m not shocked that it appears that Uber is trying to skate over this issue. After all they haven’t exactly been great when it comes to user privacy as of late. Thus they really need to take a good hard look at themselves and do what’s best for their user base which is to walk this change back. As in right now.

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One Response to “Uber Says iOS Is Behind Their App Tracking You All The Time”

  1. […] light that the Uber app tracks you long after you’ve used their service. Something that they tried and failed to explain away. Hopefully this shines a light on this company so that everyone can see that they’ve not […]

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