While technology is helping us humans make leaps and bounds in how we stay connected, there have also been numerous trespasses committed against us in the realm of information security.
Orwellian scenarios have long been a worry of many a skeptical user of modern technology. From the mere act of using your credit card online, to utilizing the location services on your smartphone, it seems that our technology will forever be increasing its means of invading our privacy. Now, the full extent of one popular app’s malfeasance has been realized, and it’s not pretty.
“Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, visited Apple’s headquarters in early 2015 to meet with Timothy D. Cook, who runs the iPhone maker. It was a session that Mr. Kalanick was dreading.
“For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.
“But Apple was onto the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. ‘So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,’ Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.
“For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded.”
The risky, and illegal, maneuvers that were caught by Apple and subsequently discontinued by Uber fall right in line with Kalanick’s ridiculous penchant for shirking the rules to get what he wants. In the case of this particular move by the CEO, an egregious act in and of its own right, the users were taken for the proverbial ride.
This is just another example of corporate greed trampling on the rights of consumers. Uber’s quest for cash may have seriously jeopardized the privacy of users on whom they rely. Given the modern prevalence for hacking and cyber warfare, information banks such as Uber’s would be an immense prize for ne’er-do-wells looking to cash in on identity theft.