Uber and Los Angeles have been fighting over a rule ordering scooter rental companies to share ride data with the city—a rule that was just upheld on appeal, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) passed a rule requiring scooter and electric bike sharing services to provide real-time data on riders’ trips, including start and end points, as well as the full route traveled.
Uber has argued that providing that degree of data would unnecessarily risk riders’ privacy and make it all too easy to personally identify individual riders, and “reveal personal information about riders, including where they live, work, socialize or worship,” according the LA Times. After six months of arguing, the city suspended Uber’s operating license.
Uber filed an appealed, which was heard “by David B. Shapiro, a lawyer who has handled appeals for multiple city departments, including the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Department of Cannabis Regulation.”
Although Shapiro sided with the city in saying it was within its rights to terminate Uber’s operating permit, he said both sides had made weak arguments. Uber failed to provide examples of data being used improperly, while Shapiro did acknowledge Uber’s concerns. At the same time, LADOT failed to make a compelling case as to how it could use real-time data to solve the problems it says are the reason for the rule. Uber has already said it is willing to provide near-real-time, aggregated data that would protect privacy.
Shapiro’s decision is a loss for privacy advocates and concerned citizens, but Uber has already promised to appeal.