British drivers take Uber to Dutch court over data use

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A group of British Uber drivers took their employer to court in the Netherlands on Wednesday in a bid to get access to data the company collects about them.

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The drivers say Uber determines the allocation of available rides and their fares based on information about their performance, behaviour and other personal traits it gathers through the app they have to use to do their job.

They demand full access to this information and the working of Uber’s algorithms, as they say it ultimately decides how much money they earn and how they could do better.

“Uber should offer total transparency”, their lawyer Anton Ekker said at the District Court in Amsterdam, home of the ride hailing company’s international head office.

“Drivers are not given the information they have asked and to which they are entitled.”

Uber said it had shared all the information it was required to with drivers, but could not do more in order to protect the privacy of passengers.

“It’s extremely dangerous for the privacy of passengers if we share all data about specific rides”, Uber lawyer Axel Arnbak said.

“This is very sensitive information. For a driver, it simply says they went from A to B, but it tells much more about a passenger.”

Uber said rides were allocated mainly based on the location of drivers, their routes and their fare preferences.

Drivers were excluded from rides for passengers who had previously given them the lowest possible rating, the company said in a statement.

But individual ratings, complaints and other feedback could not be shared with drivers for privacy reasons, it added.

The court said it would decide on the matter by Feb. 11, 2021.

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