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Is Uber Spying On You For The Government?

On Tuesday, Uber released its first ever transparency report, revealing some unsettling news for privacy advocates. The San Francisco-based ride-sharing company said that in the last half of 2015, it provided information on over 12 million riders and drivers to U.S. regulators.

On top of the data going to regulators, Uber also provided information on 469 users to various state and federal law enforcement agencies. Uber said that the agencies requested information on trips, requests, pickup and drop-off spots, fares, and vehicles.

According to the report, Uber received 415 requests from law enforcement agencies and was able to provide data in about 85% of the cases. A large percentage of the cases were related to fraud or credit card theft.

It is unclear exactly what U.S. regulators did with the data, but Uber did say that it has not received any national security related requests or orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act.

Of course, this revelation comes in the wake of Apple’s public clash with the FBI over the unlocking of a phone related to the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. While the FBI was eventually able to unlock the phone without Apple’s help, the incident sparked a national dialogue on data privacy and the right of private corporations to protect their customers’ information.

(Also Read: Apple Wins iPhone Privacy Ruling: What's Next in FBI Battle?)

Government requests for data are not at all uncommon, and every company has their own way of responding to them. Check out this graphic from this Electronic Frontier Foundation to learn more.

Some companies, like Adobe ADBE, Apple AAPL, and Yahoo YHOO, receive perfect marks from the EFF. Others like Twitter TWTR, Facebook FB, and Pinterest also score well. On the other hand, companies like WhatsApp, AT&T T, and Verizon VZ are not known for their support of consumer privacy.

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