While an Uber senior vice president mused about hiring opposition researchers to attack critical journalists, the company has already used its own rider data to ferret out leaks, according to a new report. Ellen Cushing, a senior editor at San Francisco magazine who profiled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick this month, said that employees warned her that executives were likely to access her rider logs in an effort to see which employees she was speaking to as part of her reporting. Cushing says she could not independently verify those claims, but noted that they seemed more realistic following revelations that Uber's general manager for New York City accessed the profile of a Buzzfeed reporter without her permission.
Cushing adds that to her knowledge, Uber never looked at her rider data. She also says the company works to make employees afraid of talking to the press for fear of retribution. "But when I contacted a former employee last night about the news, this person told me that 'it's not very hard to access the travel log information they're talking about,'" Cushing wrote. Her source added: "I have no idea who is 'auditing' this log or access information. At least when I was there, any employee could access rider rating information, as I was able to do it." Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.