nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

Uber reveals fresh passenger data spaff – and city officials are OK with this

Storm in a Boston tea cup

By Shaun Nichols, 13 Jan 2015

Uber has agreed to hand over information on its passengers' taxi journeys to city officials in Boston, US – as the data may prove useful to city planners.

The deal may be one of many more to come with other towns and cities, perhaps in an attempt to butter up local governments to accept the controversial taxi biz on their streets.

Uber says it will hand over "anonymized" records on its customers to Boston, such as when exactly each passenger took a ride in an Uber car, the distance traveled, and the zip code tabulation areas of their destination and starting point. The San Francisco-based startup will lend technical staff to help Boston officials wrangle the ride data.

Uber said it hopes the journey logs will give city planners a better picture of how residents are moving within the city, potentially allowing administrators to better plan how to expand public transit, and manage traffic flows and street repairs.

The move is also, no doubt, an effort by Uber to ease the tensions between the dial-a-ride service and many city governments, which are less than thrilled with the company's skirting of taxi regulations.

Boston thus far has had one of the better relationships with Uber, though the company had a run-in with city officials in Cambridge last summer over licensing plans.

In other cities, such as Portland and Seattle the company has faced stiffer opposition from officials, while France has been seeking ways to ban some Uber services. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing