On 28th April 2017, Uber announced a new privacy setting that it was rolling out to customers in the coming weeks. The new settings will provide users more control over notifications that are sent by Uber, or even any shared contacts.
A choice previously made at the OS level is now made by users: the permission to send or restrict the transmission of location related data from the app. The new settings also include the ability for a user to share their location with their friends and family, though it is still a two-way choice.
Any users that decide they don’t want to toggle location sharing, will have to manually enter their location when they use the ride-hailing service. A great new addition is the ability to delete a user’s Uber account from within the app. Previously to delete an Uber account meant directly contacting the Uber team to have a user’s data deleted from Uber’s servers, simply deleting or uninstalling the app didn’t do that.
The new setting does make things easier, though it isn’t quick. Users can now start an in-app countdown, from the privacy settings, which expires after 30 days. At the end of this timer, all user data is removed from the server, even the data of the UberEats app. Product Manager, Zach Singleton, said:
We would often get a lot of questions about what’s deleted from our servers. Internally, this lets us manage it better in terms of scale.
Although it is speculated that this feature comes in response to the #DeleteUber campaign, the harassment and regulatory scandals and many other negative critiques that Uber has faced, an Uber spokesman insists that it is not so. It was stated that these changes were being worked on way before those issues and that this announcement was planned several months earlier.
We’ve been working on improving this [account deletion] experience for more than a year
said the Uber spokesperson.