Ubers new creepy update lets you turn people into destinations

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Uber

Uber launched a new version of its ridesharing application with two new features. The first, and the one we’re frankly less concerned with, is that the app now has custom Snapchat filters. You unlock said filters by riding around in an Uber, and they apparently fill some previously unmet need to turn everything you do in public into a selfie. Uber writes, “If you’re an existing Snapchat user and on an Uber ride, you’ll see a Snap card in the feed. Just select the type of filter you want to unlock, take your selfie, and swipe right. You can even use Uber filters with another Snap lens for double the fun.”

The second “feature” is the one we’ll be discussing. Uber’s new application allows you to turn your Uber-using friends into destinations in and of themselves. Here’s how Uber describes it:

Where are you? Where’s that again? These are common questions we ask friends and family when meeting up. If you’re catching up with friends when out of town, meeting your sister at the mall, or joining coworkers for drinks, now you can skip the back and forth. Just Uber directly to them!

Here’s how it works:

  • Sync your contacts with the Uber app
  • Type in a friend’s name in the “Where to?” box
  • Your friend will receive a request from Uber to provide their current static location
  • Once they accept, their location is used as your destination and you can be on your way!

To help your friends and family know when they can expect you to arrive, we’ll share your ETA with them after you’re on your way to their location. They’ll get updates just like if you decided to share your ETA on any trip. So skip the back and forth, forget the address, and get straight to whom you’re meeting up with.

Granted, there are circumstances where this kind of tracking really could be useful — but it’s also a privacy nightmare waiting to happen. Uber is effectively asking permission to track people who aren’t even its own customers. While the company is currently promising that these requests will expire after 30 minutes and that it won’t keep a record of who you try to contact, it’s also been pushing hard to get more information about its customers and is facing lawsuits for how it handles existing data.

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