Under fire from regulators around the world, Uber is trying to make friends in the city of Boston by providing its municipal government with anonymized data on all the rides it serves in the area. Specifically, Uber will inform Boston's authorities about the distance traveled, the starting time and duration of a trip, and the zip code tabulation area (ZCTA) of the pick-up and drop-off. Much like the way Jawbone's Up fitness tracker can give insight on the sleeping patterns of a population, Uber's granular stats can help inform Boston's city and traffic planners by identifying the ebbs and flows of private transit.
The coding of trips according to ZCTA may make the rider superficially anonymous, but the level of detail could still lead to some trips being identifiable to a particular person. Still, Uber believes it's the right approach and promises it "will champion municipal efforts devoted to achieving data-driven urban growth, mobility and safety for communities."