(Photo by Attribution Engine user Maryus Bio, used under a Creative Commons license)
When you signed up for Uber you might not have considered that your rides would be searchable data under the Freedom of Information Act, but a new rule proposed by the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission could do just that. The data will be anonymized.
“If the rule is adopted, car services will now have to report the GPS coordinates of both passenger pick-up and drop-off locations to the city government,” according to a post in Princeton University’s Freedom to Tinker. “Under NY’s Freedom of Information Law, that data in bulk will also be subject to full public release. This proposal is either a classic case of good intentions gone awry or a clandestine effort to track millions of car service riders while riding roughshod over passenger privacy.”
This is not law yet, but it’s worth thinking about the unintended consequences of new technology and the tremendous amount of power our government has in accessing that technology.