Uber Technologies Inc. hired law firm Hogan Lovells’ data-privacy experts to conduct an internal data-privacy review, moving to tamp down criticism after an executive discussed prying on journalists’ private lives.
Uber said in a blog post today that it hired Harriet Pearson, formerly the chief privacy officer at International Business Machines Corp. and now a partner at Hogan Lovells, to work with the San Francisco-based startup. Pearson said in a phone call that she will work for Uber as a legal adviser.
“Our business depends on the trust of the millions of riders and drivers who use Uber,” Uber wrote in the blog. “Hogan Lovell will conduct an in-depth review and assessment of our existing data privacy program.”
Uber has been grappling with a growing controversy after one of its executives, Emil Michael, recently said the company would be willing to pay to look into reporters’ lives. Another Uber manager is also under investigation after using a tool in the app known as God View to track a journalist at online publication BuzzFeed without her permission, a person with knowledge of the matter has said.
The incidents have prompted a wave of criticism. Minnesota’s Senator Al Franken, a Democrat who chairs the Senate subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law, sent a letter yesterday to Uber asking for answers on the startup’s privacy policies.
Some users have said they have also deleted the Uber app from their smartphones following the incidents. Some consumers have also taken to social media to promote the hashtags #BoycottUber and #deleteuber.
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