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App-based car-hiring service Uber, which is trying to enhance its image after several controversies, on Friday promised to improve its privacy and data security practices. In a blog post, the company said it would act on all the recommendations made by lawyers at Hogan Lovells, a firm hired by Uber to review its handling of customer data. The report found that Uber had appropriate guidelines and procedures in place for internal access control, data security and data retention. It said Uber could improve privacy and data security by taking steps such as providing training for employees, making policies easier for customers to understand, and tightening access controls.
Uber management said on Friday it had already begun putting the recommendations into effect. "While Uber is encouraged by these findings, we fully acknowledge that we haven't always gotten it right. Uber grew rapidly in the past two years from a small local company to a large global one," the company said.
Uber commissioned the report in November, shortly after a dinner where a company executive raised the idea of hiring researchers to examine and disclose activities of media critics. It also emerged that Uber executives sometimes used an internal tool called "God View" to track specific customer rides, including the ride of a reporter for the news outlet Buzzfeed. The incidents provoked strong public criticism, including from Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who sent letters to Uber and rival service Lyft asking about the companies' privacy procedures. On Thursday, a woman who says an Uber driver raped her in New Dehli, India, filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, where Uber is based, accusing the company of failing to properly investigate the alleged assailant's background.
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