Uber participates in contract tracing and will turn your data over to health authorities

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uber(NaturalHealth365) Is the COVID-19 pandemic paving the way toward a surveillance state?  And, more specifically, what is Uber doing with its customers private data?  We’re not resigning ourselves to this bleak future quite yet. But, we do believe the American public should be made well aware of potential threats to their personal and private data, all in the name of “public safety” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incredibly, something as innocent as hopping into an Uber could put your private data at jeopardy.

While the practice has allegedly been going on for a while now, the popular company recently admitted they are tattletaling on (er, sharing information about) drivers and users who they suspect have come in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals.

Popular ride-sharing app has been giving health officials private data about users for months

According to Reuters, Uber Technologies, Inc is providing public health officials with private data, including names and contact information, about Uber users who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. It’s a move intended to “give public health officials quick access to data on drivers and riders” as part of a larger contact tracing initiative.

The information about drivers and passengers can be accessed within a matter of two to three hours after a ride, company officials say.  Reuters adds that this information has actually been provided to officials for months now, although news about the data-sharing was only recently announced.

In their legal documentation, Uber states they are permitted to disclose private information about their users on the “good faith” assumption that there is an “emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury.” 

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Other ride-sharing apps, including Lyft, have also been noted to share private data to both U.S. and Canadaian health officials.

Precedence in place: If you’re NOT willing to comply with draconian surveillance policies, be prepared for these kinds of consequences

Here is a great example of why you may want to skip ride-sharing apps for a while and avoid the headache of health authorities contacting you about a COVID-19 test:

A young couple in Kentucky is being forced to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet that will alert law enforcement agents if they go further than 200 feet from their own home. The reason?  The woman, Elizabeth Linscott, received a positive test result for COVID-19 and then declined to sign a self-quarantine order.

According to reports, Linscott was fully prepared to quarantine at home after getting back the results of her COVID test. However, she and her husband didn’t feel comfortable signing the self-quarantine order due to some uncomfortable and unclear wording, including this clause: “I will not travel by any public, commercial or health care conveyance such as ambulance, bus, taxi, airplane, train or boat without the prior approval of the Department of Public Health.”

Understandably, Linscott refused to comply with a protocol that would require her to ask for permission in order to leave her home via an ambulance for medical care for herself or a loved one.

She and her husband, along with their young child, are now on house arrest. The local health department has not offered any comments on the matter.  Naturally, we will continue to monitor the situation.

Sources for this article include:

Fiercehealthcare.com
Uber.com
Reuters.com
BGR.com