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Everytime you take an Uber, sensitive personal and financial data float up to the cloud. To keep that information from ever-more aggressive hackers, Uber has just tapped a longtime Facebook executive to be its first chief security officer. "We are both in cyberspace and on city streets all at once; a bridge between bits and atoms," Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "And as we get into tens of millions of rides a week, we continue to challenge ourselves to do even better when it comes to safety and data security."
Joe Sullivan, who started at Facebook in 2008 and assumed the role of security chief two years later, is joining Uber at a particularly sensitive time for the San Francisco-based company. The ride-sharing service has been all over the news in the past year, for its $40 billion private market valuation, rapid global expansion, ruthless recruiting mechanisms and even its use of data. The company was soundly criticized for a secret tool called "God View," which let the company track riders in a way that some saw as intrusive.
Sullivan's job will be as much about ensuring physical security as the cyber variety. Sullivan, who previously spent eight years with the Department of Justice, will be working in conjunction with city and state governments around the world. "This is a challenge where I get to take what makes Silicon Valley special and apply it to a product that directly impacts people's lives everyday as they move around the world's cities," Sullivan wrote.