clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Uber allegedly tracked journalist with internal tool called 'God View'

New, 34 comments

Josh Mohrer reportedly used internal 'God View' tool to follow Buzzfeed reporter

Uber is investigating its top New York executive after he was alleged to have tracked a journalist's location without her permission using an internal company tool called "God View." Buzzfeed News reporter Johana Bhuiyan used the private car service earlier this month to travel to a meeting with Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber New York. On arriving at the company's Long Island City headquarters, Bhuiyan says she found Mohrer waiting for her. "I was tracking you," he reportedly said, and pointed to his iPhone.

The tracking tool is reportedly available to Uber corporate employees

Two ex-Uber employees told Buzzfeed News that the "God View" tool, which allows users to track both Uber vehicles and customers who have requested a car, is not open to contracted Uber drivers, but is "widely available" to those at corporate level. By tracking Bhuiyan without her permission, Mohrer went against Uber's privacy policy, which states that its employees are prohibited to look at customer rider histories except for "legitimate business purposes." The company only published its privacy policy on Tuesday, shortly after vice president Emil Michael came under fire for threatening to investigate Uber's critics, but the car service says the policy has always been in place.

Bhuiyan said this was Mohrer's second transgression of her privacy — two months earlier he had emailed her logs of her Uber trips in reference to a discussion about Uber rival Lyft. A tracking tool may have been in use at Uber for many years. In 2011, venture capitalist Peter Sims wrote a Medium post after he began receiving unsolicited texts from someone while in an Uber car. The texter informed Sims that he was being tracked at an Uber launch party in Chicago. When he expressed his consternation, he was reportedly told to calm down, and that he should be "honored to have been one of the chosen" at the event.

It makes sense for the company to have a tool to track its legions of drivers, but by threatening journalists, trying to sabotage the competition, and even by naming the system "God View," Uber has created a trust issue by demonstrating such a startlingly cavalier approach to its business.