Privacy and Technology Groups Warn Ride-Share Bill Jeopardizes Passenger Information

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
March 30, 2017 10:15 am

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The New York Civil Liberties Union and other privacy and technology groups issued a warning today that state ride-share legislation under consideration this week during the state budget process puts the privacy rights of passengers and drivers in danger. The legislation is being considered amidst a national focus on digital privacy rights, after Congress voted to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s 2016 broadband privacy rules. These require Internet Service Providers to safeguard customers’ sensitive information.

The following statement is attributable to the NYCLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology and Professor Albert Gidari, Director of the Privacy Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School:

“Congress recently passed a bill that would repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s 2016 broadband privacy rules, which require Internet Service Providers to tell consumers what information is being collected, how it is being used or shared, and in some cases requiring consumer consent to sell information. If this legislation is signed into law, it will eliminate consumer’s strongest privacy protections for their data and prohibit the FCC from adopting similar rules, thus making state protections of consumer data more important than ever.

“Unfortunately, in New York State there is a similar unraveling of privacy rights for the passengers and drivers of ride-sharing services. New York State legislators are considering ride-share legislation that fails to provide adequate oversight and privacy protections for ride-share passengers and drivers.

“The amount and type of information collected by ride-sharing companies is concerning because misuse of this information, either internally by rogue employees or externally through data breaches or data brokers, can leave consumers susceptible to financial fraud or have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected activities. All legislative proposals pending in Albany require ride-share companies to collect and retain customer and driver data, and to report the data to state and local agencies. The legislation fails to address potential abuses of this sensitive data. It is equally concerning that all legislative proposals require ride-sharing companies to retain customer and driver data for at least six years, which is inconsistent with best practices and unnecessary for the proposed oversight procedures.

“It is imperative that New Yorkers privacy rights are reinforced, not diminished. Our organizations urge Albany Legislators to ensure that ride-share legislation include adequate oversight and privacy protections for ride-share passengers and drivers.”

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