Uber is taking its battle against the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) over customer data to federal court.
While Uber already shares location data for its electric bike and scooter ride-sharing services with many cities it operates in, the LADOT has required that Uber share real-time, or near real-time, data with the agency. The data would include start and end points, as well as the route taken. Uber has fought the ruling and ultimately had its license for its scooter business pulled.
The company appealed the ruling, which was heard by David B. Shapiro, a lawyer who has handled multiple city departments appeals. Shapiro sided with LADOT, but noted that neither side had made very compelling arguments. Uber had not given evidence that real-time data was being abused, or that customers’ privacy was negatively impacted. At the same time, LADOT did not adequately show why it was so important to receive real-time data.
Now Uber is taking the next step, suing the LADOT in federal court. According to CNET, the company is continuing to claim that customer privacy will be negatively impacted.
“Real-time in-trip geolocation data is not good for planning bike lanes, or figuring out deployment patterns in different neighborhoods, or dealing with complaints about devices that are parked in the wrong place, or monitoring compliance with permit requirements,” states the lawsuit. “What it is good for is surveillance.”
The outcome of this lawsuit will likely have far-reaching repercussions for a variety of industries, and determine the degree to which local governments do or don’t have the right to require real-time location data.