Uber not answering some serious questions about its data breach

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged valid criticisms of the company, but didn't address them

Published November 22, 2017 7:59AM (EST)

    (AP/Eric Risberg)
(AP/Eric Risberg)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is trying to control the damage caused by the revelation that the company was hacked last year and its consumers' information was compromised.

His recent public letter, however, only acknowledged the serious questions that exist. What it notably did not do was answer them.

After Uber investigated how 57 million customer accounts were compromised by hackers in 2016, including "the names and driver’s license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the United States," Khosrowshahi wrote that the company identified the perpetrators and "obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed." He neglected to mention that they had done so by paying the hackers $100,000, according to Bloomberg.

Khosrowshahi wasn't done with his attempt at damage control.

"You may be asking why we are just talking about this now, a year later," Khosrowshahi wrote. "I had the same question, so I immediately asked for a thorough investigation of what happened and how we handled it."

Instead of explaining why the breach wasn't disclosed sooner, Khosrowshahi instead outlined measures that had been taken by the company as a result of the breach. These included hiring a National Security Agency alumnus to improve the company's security in the future, terminating the employment of two individuals who led the response to the hacking, providing assistance to the drivers whose personal information was compromised and notifying regulatory authorities.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,"Khosrowshahi concluded. "While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes. We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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