California Fines Uber with $59 Million After Refusing to Hand Over Assault Data as Company Argues Anonymity for Victims

California Fines Uber with $59 Million After Refusing to Hand Over Assault Data as Company Argues Anonymity for Victims  ( Screenshot From Pxhere Official Website )

California regulators have issued a whopping $59 million fine and also threatened to suspend Uber’s operating license in the state over the company’s refusal to hand over certain sexual assault data on the platform. This was according to the ruling that was issued on Monday.

Assault victims amount to around 6,000 from 2017 to 2018

According to an story by The Washington Post, this order comes just a year after Uber had released a certain landmark report on the certain prevalence of sexual assault within its app. This report disclosed that there had been around 6,000 cases of sexual assaults that were reported between 2017 and 2018.

The ruling that was issued by an administrative law judge coming from the California Public Utilities Commission stated that Uber has 30 days for it to come into compliance with the given January 2020 order. It then requests the time, date, as well as location of each reported assault. This is a description of the given circumstances that surround the incident. The names and the contact information for both of the assault witnesses and also each person to whom the said assault was reported.

CPUC official pledge

Uber openly stated that it objects the release of this data on the grounds that this move would compromise the given anonymity of the assault victims. This is in defiance of the established guidelines by the support groups for the survivors of these sexual assaults and also the will of the given victims themselves.

The CPUC has officially pledged that it would in fact keep the given information under seal. It also argues that the data serves the general public interest by making sure that the services are all being conducted in a securely safe manner as well as broadening public understanding of the whole ride-hailing business model. The commission stated that Uber could actually protect its victims’ own anonymity by providing a certain code or even an alternate signifier to replace the victim’s name.

Read Also: FTC Orders Explanation from Big Tech Companies on What They Do with User Data Shortly After Facebook’s Antitrust Violations

Uber fined $59 million

Ever since Uber has released its given safety report back in 2019, an Uber spokesman known as Andrew Hasbun stated that the official CPUC has actually been insistent on its demands that the company release the “full” names as well as the “contact information” of the said sexual assault survivors even without their own consent. He then added that a year later, the CPUC then changed its tune. It was stated that they can provide the anonymized information, but that they will be subjected to a whopping $59 million fine for failure to comply with the CPUC order.

Hasbun then noted that the contradictory actions might actually prompt other companies to not release such reports as it will not improve public safety. The Uber rival called Lyft pledges to release its very own sexual assault report but still ahs not done so or has specified its plans to push through with this. Uber is given 30 days in order to pay this fine, according to an article by The Verge.

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