After receiving a lot of bad press lately, Uber has switched to damage control mode, announcing that it has brought aboard former IBM Chief Privacy Officer Harriet Pearson as well as her colleagues at Hogan Lovells law firm to help conduct an in-depth review and assessment of the company's existing data privacy program.
Uber says Pearson and her colleagues will work alongside the ridesharing company's own privacy team to review its current privacy policies, based on which they'll come up with recommendations for improvement. However, there was no guarantee that the company will act on those recommendations, as well as no word on whether it will publish results of the audit.
"Our business depends on the trust of the millions of riders and drivers who use Uber," the company said in a blog post. "The trip history of our riders is important information and we understand that we must treat it carefully and with respect, protecting it from unauthorized access."
The move comes a week after the company's senior vice president of business Emil Michael stirred up a controversy by saying that the company should consider hiring a team of researchers to "dig up dirt" on journalists who were critical of the company.
This was followed by reports alleging that the company's New York general manager had used an internal company tool called God View to track a BuzzFeed reporter without her knowledge.
A couple of days ago, Sen. Al Franken, who chairs the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, sent a letter to Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, asking him to clarify the company's stance on user privacy.