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Lyft employees may have improperly looked at customer data

Lyft employees may have improperly looked at customer data


Allegations mirror those of Uber’s ‘God View’ case

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

As Uber goes, so does Lyft, apparently. The ride-hailing company says it’s investigating whether some of its employees abused access clearances and looked into customers’ information, with one saying it went on for “too long.”

Lyft confirmed to The Information Thursday it was looking into the allegation after receiving an anonymous tip from a current or former employee at the San Francisco-based company.

“Maintaining the trust of passengers and drivers is fundamental to Lyft,” a Lyft spokesperson told The Verge in an email. “The specific allegations in this post would be a violation of Lyft’s policies and a cause for termination, and have not been raised with our Legal or Executive teams. We are conducting an investigation into the matter.” 

In addition to claims of employees tracking where current or former significant others were requesting rides and tracking “attractive people” they encountered on Lyft Line rides, one allegation claimed employees were looking at prominent figures in and out of the tech world.

“I’ve heard at least one employee brag about having Zuck’s phone number from using our data,” the person said, using the nickname for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Mr. Zuckerberg did not have a comment for this article.) “Another employee has bragged about collecting the info of Hollywood actresses and porn stars,” the anonymous person said.

The allegations somewhat mirror a 2014 accusation from a BuzzFeed journalist that Uber’s “God View” tool enabled company employees to track her location because she “was 30 minutes late to a meeting.” Uber and the State of New York later settled for a $20,000 fine in 2016. Last year, Uber was accused of using software to track rival Lyft drivers that later prompted the FBI to open an investigation into the company.

Amid the allegations at Lyft, however, it maintains only employees who needed access to customer data to do their jobs received the clearances and a log of inquiries tied to individuals was maintained, the company spokesperson said.