Uber responds to Sen. Al Franken's questions

Though facing more recent criticism, Uber is still dealing with the fallout from last month's various troubles. The hoopla had managed to attract the attention of Senator Al Franken, who sent the ridesharing service a letter expressing concerns about privacy, as well as a series of questions. Sen. Franken requested a response to his questions by December 15, and down to the deadline Uber has sent back a reply, saying it "welcomes the opportunity to respond".

In the letter, Uber points to its privacy policy and details some pertinent points, such as its need to maintain certain records and details about when rider information will be removed — after a rider cancels an account and it is "settled". It makes a point to say other companies do something similar, including using "internal tools that its employees use to do business".

Uber goes on to extensively address the two big issues that caught public attention: the comments made by Emil Michael about digging up dirt on journalists, and allegations that Uber's Josh Mohrer accessed a reporter's data without permission (Mohrer recently received a disciplinary action).

Says Uber about the tracking allegations:

Uber employee Josh Mohrer twice accessed the reporter's account while in the process of responding to communications from her. First, she told him by email that she had not received automatic Uber notifications telling her that her ride was arriving ... he simply pulled up the notifications in her account and sent them to her by reply email ... Second, on another occassion, the reporter was on her way to the New York Uber office to talk with Mr. Mohrer ... She was 30 minutes late, and Mr. Mohrer wanted to meet her in the lobby to escort her to the meeting location, so he pulled up her trip to see her arrival time, and when she arrived, he was open with her that he had done so.

In the latter instance, Uber says it considered Mohrer's decision to pull up the ride information to have been poor judgement, and that it "disciplined him accordingly". It's a long letter that touches on other issues that have arisen, including the "God View" tool. You can read the entire response here.

SOURCE: Senate.gov