Uber can track your one-night stands

uberdata-RidesOfGlory-year

Uber's bad PR just got worse.

A few years ago, Uber posted a blog entry titled "Rides of Glory." Uber searched its data, looking for anyone who took an Uber between 10pm and 4am on a Friday or Saturday night. Uber then searched that data for how many of the same people took another ride about four to six hours later--either from, at, or near the previous nights' drop-off point.

“The greater the male/female ratio, the more likely that neighborhood had a Ride of Glory.”

What does this mean? Uber can track one-night stands.

Notable Replies

  1. The additional money spent to hire a regular taxi is starting to look better every day.

  2. There's a difference between the possibility of tracking users, and the realization of that possibility. And it's yet another thing to publish that information. It's not just that Uber can determine when its users have one-night stands, it's that it actually did, and then boasted about it publicly.

    Sure, other entities could do this. But Uber did do it.

    Take, by contrast, how librarians in the US have steadfastly resisted efforts to collect information on library patron's reading habits, or how strong the regulations are on maintaining the confidentiality of medical information.

    This isn't primarily a technological issue. It's a political issue.

  3. Boston comes in nearly 1% of all rides being Rides of Glory. They clearly top the list! New York has about 1/5 that proportion. Clearly New Yorkers and Bostonians differ in more than just baseball.

    This analysis isn't even very good. Up until recently, Boston's subway service stopped at midnight, so there's a good chance that someone who rode the T into the city will be taking a cab home. It's a perfect example of correlation not equaling causation.

  4. AKA Booty-sector calls.

    Sorry.

  5. Once upon a time, an ex phoned me at around 11:30 at night, and after some conversation we got onto the subject of whether or not they could beat me at arm wrestling. After I repeatedly insisted it was impossible, they told me to come over and prove it. So I headed right over, arriving shortly after midnight.

    Somewhat to my amazement the end of this story really was just an arm wrestling match.

    I assume that late night arm wrestling accounts for a significant number of those Uber rides.

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