Loading...

Ola, Uber most data intrusive among ride-hailing apps: Report

Ola, Uber most data intrusive among ride-hailing apps: Report
Photo Credit: Reuters
31 Jan, 2022

Ride hailing services Olacabs and Uber were among the most data intrusive of their category in the world, according to a market study on ride aggregator apps by virtual private network services firm, Surfshark. In a study that spanned multiple parameters, Uber was found to be among the top three most data-hungry ride hailing apps in the world, while Ola ranked sixth.

Loading...

Among the type of data being collected by ride hailing services included user-specific information such as contact details, saved payment information such as credit cards, geolocation, sensitive information such as personal identifiers on the internet for tracking across apps and services, access to emails, text messages as well as stored photos and videos, internet search and purchase history, device and network identifiers, and more.

Uber was found to be the third most data hungry of all ride hailing apps tracked by the study, asking users for access to a wide range of information such as app performance data on a phone, device information, internet browsing and purchase history for targeted marketing activities, access to emails, text messages and photo/video gallery, user location, and more.

Ola also asks for a similarly large set of user data, including their credit card details and physical addresses.

Loading...

Explaining why such data is collected by ride hailing apps, the report states, “Apps often ask for permissions to access different parts of their user’s device like contacts, microphone, and even camera. This allows them to collect information about their users that they can package and use for extra revenue. Ride-hailing apps are no different – they collect a lot of user data, and some of them even use it for target ads and marketing products from different companies.”

Collecting user data and using them for marketing activities is hardly new, but represents the continuing reality of how apps such as Uber and Ola track a bulk set of user information for commercial gains. While a number of apps and services from other sectors have been pushed to disclose more information on their data collection practices, the report clearly reflects on how user data disclosure remains a non-uniform practice at best.

Ola and Uber did not respond to an email requesting a response at the time of filing. The story will be updated to reflect the same, if they respond.

Loading...