Uber Technologies Inc., which has faced criticism after an executive suggested he was willing to pay to investigate reporters’ lives, took disciplinary actions against a manager for tracking a journalist’s movements.
Uber, the online car-booking company, had been looking into the actions of Josh Mohrer, general manager of its New York business, for following the whereabouts of a BuzzFeed reporter without her permission. The San Francisco-based company announced the unspecified disciplinary action today in a two- line statement.
“Access to and use of data is permitted only for legitimate business purposes,” Nairi Hourdajian, an Uber spokeswoman, said in the e-mailed statement. The discipline was first reported by Slate.
The tracking issue added to a controversy in which Emil Michael, vice president for business, told BuzzFeed’s editor at a dinner in New York that the company would be willing to pay to dig up a reporter’s personal details to retaliate for negative coverage.
The five-year-old startup is close to raising a round of venture financing that would value it between $35 billion and $40 billion, according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. In June, it obtained funding that gave the company a $17 billion valuation.
The tracking incident led U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, to call for Uber to answer questions about its privacy policies. The company hired a law firm to conduct an internal review.
Uber also has taken steps to hire researchers to refute any inaccurate information from the taxi and limousine industries, which have opposed the startup’s fast expansion.
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