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Uber-Logo-550x550Uber announced plans to update its privacy policy, controversially allowing it to track passengers and access additional personal information, even after users have exited the mobile app and turned off location sharing.

Last month, the San Francisco-based company stated its new policy is set to go into effect July 15, highlighting some of the “potential new use cases” of its customers’ data:

“…These changes would allow Uber to ask for access to a rider’s location when the app is running in the background and get people on their way more quickly,” wrote Uber’s Katherine Tassi, Managing Counsel of Data Privacy.

In addition, these changes would allow Uber to launch new promotional features that use contacts — for example the ability to send special offers to riders’ friends or family.” 

In response to Uber’s upcoming policy, a leading privacy rights group recently filed a complaint against the company with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C. argued on Monday that the transportation service’s revised policy creates several risks for consumers, urging that the data collection changes be barred.

“Even if a user disables the GPS location services on their phone, the company may still derive approximate location from riders’ IP addresses,” the complaint states.

“This collection of user’s information far exceeds what customers expect from the transportation service. Users would not expect the company to collect location information when customers are not actively using the app, or have turned off their GPS location finder (as Uber can still collect location information through the phones’ IP addresses).”

Although Uber said users will be able to opt-out of sharing their data with the company, EPIC’s complaint stated the option “places an unreasonable burden on consumers,” which may not be easy for all consumers to do.

Uber has responded to the issue in a statement saying, “There is no basis for this complaint.” The company added: “These updated statements don’t reflect a shift in our practices, they more clearly lay out the data we collect today and how it is used to provide or improve our services.”

EPIC’s complaint against Uber can be seen below: