If you've ever deleted an app off your iPhone, you were probably under the impression every piece of data related to that application was wiped from your device.
Apparently, that wasn't the case with Uber.
Apparently, Uber once used a tool called 'fingerprinting' to keep an eye on phones that installed the application.
By doing this, they were also able to keep track of users who deleted the app from the 'fingerprints' left on their devices.
So, basically, Uber knew exactly who was using the app on their phones and who already deleted it. That's comforting, right?
The company claimed they used 'fingerprinting' to to prevent fraudulent activity, because it helped them determine whether or not a phone that already downloaded Uber was wrongfully re-installing it.
Needless to say, the fraud hack was against Apple's privacy guidelines and Tim Cook wasn't thrilled about the news.
For those of you who aren't aware, Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple. He's kind of a big deal.
When he found out about Uber's privacy violation in 2015, he arranged a meeting with Travis Kalanick -- the Chief Executive of Uber -- and addressed the issue.
I'm telling you, this guy doesn't mess around.
Apparently, Cook addressed Kalanick and said, "So, I've heard you've been breaking some of our rules," and threatened to kick Uber off the App store.
Since Cook addressed the privacy violation, Uber changed their fingerprinting tactics to comply with Apple's regulations.
To clear the air, an Uber spokesperson talked talked to The Verge, and said,
We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they've deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.
Well, that's comforting... I guess?
Either way, we're happy Uber isn't keeping track of our whereabouts without our consent.
Thanks for having our backs, Tim.
Citations: Uber tried to fool Apple and got caught (The Verge), Uber 'secretly tracked users even after they deleted the app', report claims Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/24/uber-secretly-tracked-users-even-after-they-deleted-the-app-report-claims-6593992/#ixzz4fAjFC13p (Metro), Uber's C.E.O. Plays With Fire (New York Times)