Washington state AG sues Uber over data breach

Saul Bowman
November 30, 2017

Uber Technologies is being sued by the city of Chicago and Cook County on claims the ride-hailing company's 2016 data breach harmed "tens, if not hundreds, of thousands" of area residents.

The lawsuit could see penalties of $2,000 per violation for failing to notify those affected and the attorney general's office.

Central to the lawsuit are claims that Uber failed to protect its data and, once the breach occurred, actively went out of its way to hide this.

In the hack, 57 million Uber customers and drivers' details were compromised.

Because Washington's data breach law does not define "personal information" as including names, email addresses, and telephone numbers, the complaint filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson relates only to the Uber drivers residing in Washington.

The complaint also noted that "Uber is aware of its responsibilities to provide notice of data security breaches", citing the fact that, in 2016, "the New York Attorney General fined Uber for failing to notify drivers and that office about a data breach that occurred in 2014".

The Information Commissioner's Office of the United Kingdom has already launched an investigation into the matter, saying that it has "huge concerns" about Uber's data practices and its decision not to disclose the breach. The incident took place past year but was only revealed last week.

"Uber's conduct has been truly stunning". "The order also requires Uber to implement a comprehensive program to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the personal information it collects and maintains".

Amid reports that Uber paid hackers $100,000 to delete customer information that was obtained in a data breach, a group of senators raised questions on Monday about the alleged breach and the company's response.

However, Uber doesn't think anyone needs to take action because no evidence of fraud or account misuse has been detected.

Ferguson announced the state's lawsuit hours after developments in a California court case revealed that federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that Uber deployed an espionage team to plunder trade secrets from its rivals.

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