Belfast Telegraph

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Uber changes location settings to let it watch where people are all the time

Uber is now able to see where people are all the time – even if they’ve just finished their journey or aren’t using the app at all.

The app now asks for permission to see people’s location always. That means that as long as the app has been opened and is on a phone, the company can see where its customers have been.

Uber says that the feature has been added so that the app can see where people go just before and after they are being picked up. But it has also been described as “scary” by people who say that they don’t want to use the app if it involves having their location known.

Uber claims that information is being used to help refine the information it has on locations, and pick people up more efficiently in the future.

Because of the way that Apple’s privacy settings are set up, it’s not possible for them to ask for permission for a certain amount of time or only in specific situations.

The dispute revolves around the kinds of permissions that Apple lets apps ask for. There are three possible options: “Never”, “Always” and “While Using the App”.

Until recently, Uber used only to ask for permission to see people’s location while they were using the app. But that changed with a recent update and that option has disappeared, leaving people only able to let Uber see where they are all the time or not at all.

The only way out of the tracking is to stop Uber being able to see where users are at all. But that also stops many of its central features from working, since Uber needs to see where people are to pick them up.

Uber actually made the change to its privacy policy that allowed the move earlier this year. But it didn’t come into effect until the latest major update to the app, which also brought a range of other features that look into people’s calendars and data to help suggest and book journeys.

Independent News Service