Uber released its first transparency report on Tuesday, detailing how it fulfilled requests of law enforcement agencies for user data from about 14 million drivers and riders.
Such information were provided between July and December 2015, Uber said. Under the law, regulatory agencies have the power to require transportation companies to submit operation reports.
Details from 11,644,000 riders and 583,000 drivers were provided to 33 separate requests. In response to 34 requests from airport agencies, details from 1,645,000 riders and 156,000 drivers were delivered, the Washington Times noted.
In Chicago, for instance, 1,697,000 riders and 95,000 drivers (after narrowing scope) were affected. All values reported have been rounded.
The report cited a total of 415 requests from law enforcement agencies during the five-month period. Requests were made during the course of criminal investigations and other emergencies. CNET wrote that Uber's compliance puts it in the same page as Apple, Facebook, Google and Reddit - companies that likewise deal with such requests.
What Agencies Need
But which specific data are sought by regulatory agencies? According to Uber, they could possibly be "information about trips, trip requests, pickup and dropoff areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers in their jurisdictions for a given time period."
The transportation provider clarified that reporting requirements from online companies can differ or exceed in comparison to offline counterparts, at least in some cases. Different types of information may also be asked from the former, such as an electronic trip receipt with a trip route instead of a paper log.
The collection of personal information could worry drivers and riders alike, but Uber explained that it seeks to narrow its responses when agencies ask for more than necessary. While regulators do not always disclose what they do with the collected data, the company ensures that requests are limited to "legitimate regulatory purposes."
Airport authorities independently determine required reporting information. According to Uber, only activities occurring within airport areas are requested - drop-off locations and users' homes are kept.
Uber also expressed its hope in disclosing information to requests outside the United States.