An academic study from Israel showed that Uber was working with Israeli spooks in 2015 and 2016. Now what?
After a deeply embarrassing public relations debacle, Uber is almost being forgiven. Last night, the ride-hailing company finally delivered its response, after a lot of company staff resisted the idea and only about 30% of investors and employees understood the timing of the statement. Uber said it would no longer collect user and location data.
They did this at a time when most (but not all) investors are sending their redemption cheques. The somewhat confusing narrative about the memo from Garrett Camp, one of Uber’s founders, that caused the issue was that a few developers did not have their privacy settings turned on and, without disclosure, turned the data collection off. Again, any reasonable investor can predict that, by the end of 2019, those same developers will be writing another incredibly valuable business plan and privacy breach investigations will be an excuse for the company to purchase their privacy-invading research. The fact that the privacy-invading documentation didn’t actually endanger users is completely irrelevant.
The path to salvation will be forged by the board, which are acutely aware of how badly Uber’s ride is going and are hoping that the data privacy breaches in Palestine and Israel can help them. Dara Khosrowshahi is a founding board member. Uber’s board members are learning what Chris Coen – one of Uber’s first investors – did the hard way – through the eyes of victims: apologies don’t cut it.
Uber, whatever the difficulties with customer data privacy and the Arab and Israeli situations are a much more valuable vehicle than LeEco. And, at the very least, Uber shareholders have one hell of a comeback story.
Uber couldn’t have planned for this shitstorm and undoubtedly need to head down a different route, which is what the Board of Directors is steering the company toward, after admitting to 100% his fault. These are professionals, that has never been in question. They will figure out the path forward that works best for the stakeholders. Remember how LeEco flamed out? Uber and its investors will get it right.