Everyone new startup dreams of being the next Uber, but for the company itself the road has hardly been easy. The company grew incredibly rapidly but regularly trips over its own feet, and when it comes to government watchdogs, missteps tend to have some pretty serious consequences. Now, Uber has accepted a Federal Trade Commission ruling that will force the company to revamp its privacy protocols and upgrade its customer data handling procedures, while also being audited regularly for the next 20 years.
The settlement between the ride hailing company and the federal agency is just the latest wrinkle in the long saga over Uber’s repeated privacy failures. The company’s privacy woes stretch back to 2014 when hackers breached Uber’s systems and obtained the personal information of as many as 100,000 of its drivers.
Uber’s agreement with the FTC includes the company basically admitting that it wasn’t keeping tabs on employee and customer data — and who did or did not have access to it — as closely as they said they were. The company has repeatedly stated that it’s already upgraded its security and privacy procedures in the time since most of these incidents took place, but striking a deal with the US government can apparently take some time.
Along with pledging to not be as horrible about data security as it’s historically been, Uber is also agreeing to oversight by an independent auditor on regular intervals for the foreseeable future. The company will be audited every two years for the next two decades, and for a company that’s barely a decade old and is hemorrhaging billions of dollars yearly, that’s one heck of a deal.