The ride-hailing service Uber has agreed to pay $148 million to settle claims that it concealed a massive data breach that exposed personal information of drivers and customers.
In November 2016, Uber learned that hackers had accessed personal data of about 600,000 Uber drivers, including their driver’s license numbers. Hackers also had stolen email addresses and cellphone numbers of 57 million riders worldwide.
The claims, filed in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia, said rather than inform the drivers involved, Uber hid the breach for more than a year and paid ransom to ensure the data wouldn’t be misused.
“This is one of the most egregious cases we’ve ever seen in terms of notification; a yearlong delay is just inexcusable,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told The Associated Press.
Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said the decision to come clean about the hack was made after major management changes at the company.
“It embodies the principles by which we are running our business today: transparency, integrity and accountability,” West said.
Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.
These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.
“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.
“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.
The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.
Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.
“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”
An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.
“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.
Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)