Posted by Hongkun Ma.
On Nov. 22nd, the ride-hailing app company Uber Technologies Inc. paid hackers $100,000 to conceal an incident that Uber revealed 57 million users’ personal information like names, phone numbers and addresses around the world. 600,000 Uber drivers’ license numbers also were released.
Whether the incident violated state law is being investigated by five state attorneys general: New York, Washington, Missouri, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Forty-eight states have laws that customers have right to know a company’s data breach and will impose fines if company violates them. For Uber, the incident has been so complicated, which lost the trust of millions of customers.
The incident reflected how a data breach can trigger responses from mass of regulators and enforcement agencies, and how a private company can have flexibility to deal with this kind of things. International regulators investigated the incident right away and data protection officers from throughout the European Union announced a task-force to look into the incident. Experts indicated that Uber had more flexibility in the way it report the incident, which can be reported as a security incident, because Uber is a private company. Uber is facing crisis of confidence and it’s difficult to win back the trust of their huge numbers of customers.
Finally, I would like to give some of my opinions. Uber is a private company, which is a third party between customers and taxi drivers. In China, Uber Company is almost monopoly. When it came into China market at the very beginning, most customers were attracted by its low price, which sometimes were even free to take a taxi. Uber gained a huge customer base from the beginning. Later, customers found Uber was not as cheap as before. It became more and more expensive, sometimes was more expensive than regular taxi. The strategy actually made the company lose some of their customers, but most customers stayed. And many customers found that Uber keeps ride details in their system for so long. Some of customers received messages that contained their personal information like history location, ride history or even private residences. From my perspective, it is possible that Uber sold customers’ personal information to third-party companies which would look for visits to key locations, such as particular market, meet-up events, café and so on.
The incident of Uber Company that they concealed the cybersecurity problem really violated law from state level, and not federal. For Uber, the challenge quickly became more complicated and needed to be handled.A company’s reputation can be easily built up and destroyed. And how to win back the trust of customers is becoming a really hard task for Uber Company.
Hongkun is an accounting major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.
Posted by Catherine Caldwell.
The trendy new and convenient company, Uber Technologies Inc., is currently enduring a legal battle for its illegal classification of freelancers. Uber was founded in 2009, as an application that acts as an electronic link from individuals who have cars to individuals who needs rides. The company has received a reputation of convenience to its customers and an easy way to make profit for its drivers. However, attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, a powerful attorney in the state of California, disagrees with the classification of Uber drivers.
Shannon Liss-Riordan is no stranger in her attack on large billion dollar industries such as Uber. She has made cases against Starbucks, Harvard University and FedEx, to name a few. Ms. Liss-Riordan thinks that Uber drivers are unlawfully “on-demand workers” with no benefits. Instead of freelancers, Uber drivers should receive employee status, which would include drivers receiving reimbursement of their transportation expenses among other employment protective benefits.
As a software intermediary in the transportation business, Uber Technologies Inc. claims that they do not need grounds for titling their drivers as employees. Uber does not have a “fleet of drivers” waiting to pick up the next customer, but is based on convenience for both the drivers and employees. Uber does not plan on settling the case and has begun their approach by assembling 400 statements from drivers saying they were content with the flexible labor opportunities. However, in retaliation, Liss-Riordan took 50 of those statements and found that those drivers stated they would like to have official employment status.
In September, the case won class action status in San Francisco and will continue in federal court. Valued at $51 billion and is willing to fight for their case all the way to the Supreme Court and are unwilling to settle.
This case will create a precedent in the industry of software application employment services, and therefore needs to be handled very tactically. The basic labor protection laws should not be ignored due to new forms of introducing a business such as Uber. However, each Uber driver participates to make profits on their own agenda. Some use the service for extra cash, where others, in the grueling unemployment climate, use Uber as full time opportunities. In my opinion, the court should require Uber to create employment contracts with Uber drivers who can prove that it is a major source of income.
Catherine is a finance and information technology major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2018.