Uber can track your one-night stands


The additional money spent to hire a regular taxi is starting to look better every day.


I gather that the reason this is sensational is that Uber is one hack away from everyone knowing your rides, and so if a hacker has access to three data, then the hacker could publish the names of people taking “Rides of Glory”. How is this different from any other company that keeps user records?

Or, maybe it’s just that talking about “Rides of Glory” is crass?

Unless you use a fake name and pay with cash, a regular Taxi service can do this just as easily, especially in cities where they’re a regulatory monopoly. If you’re calling to arrange for a pickup and/or using a credit card then your anonymity is no better than Uber user’s here.

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It’s that it’s crass, but there’s also some difference between having the records and having a team of data scientists sifting through them looking for incriminating patterns. “Anyone could do this” is not quite the same thing as “they’re actively doing this”.


There’s a difference between the possibility of tracking users, and the realization of that possibility. And it’s yet another thing to publish that information. It’s not just that Uber can determine when its users have one-night stands, it’s that it actually did, and then boasted about it publicly.

Sure, other entities could do this. But Uber did do it.

Take, by contrast, how librarians in the US have steadfastly resisted efforts to collect information on library patron’s reading habits, or how strong the regulations are on maintaining the confidentiality of medical information.

This isn’t primarily a technological issue. It’s a political issue.


Boston comes in nearly 1% of all rides being Rides of Glory. They clearly top the list! New York has about 1/5 that proportion. Clearly New Yorkers and Bostonians differ in more than just baseball.

This analysis isn’t even very good. Up until recently, Boston’s subway service stopped at midnight, so there’s a good chance that someone who rode the T into the city will be taking a cab home. It’s a perfect example of correlation not equaling causation.


I suppose the difference is that there is no existing framework (that I know of) that traditional cab companies can use to easily and automatically slurp up everything and provide analytics.

Right, but I know of no taxi company that has done so, and then written a blog post advertising their having done it.


Looks like a pattern of late-evening startup meetings. Or computer (or other electronics) service visits for friends.

I think the biggest difference between a local cab company that has this ability & Uber is pretty clear. Uber is willing, based on it having investigated whether it could or not & proudly announcing it could.

Totally fits the profiles of some of its Exec, so not surprising really that toxin flows downhill.

edit Doh, sorry @shaddack I hit the wrong reply button, was aiming for general reply.

AKA Booty-sector calls.



Yesss, exactly that!
Back in the Age of DOS, when bootsector trouble were commonplace, I had a number of these!

Often returning home by a night tram when things did not go so well and took more time than expected…

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Without putting forth much effort your analysis was far better.

Seems like it’s a perfect example of laziness and idiocy.

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The problem is that Uber is a technology company that is grossly overvalued. They are searching for other revenue sources. Selling data is an obvious (and, possibly, only) choice. A “has rides of glory” list is an advertiser’s (and Uber’s) (and a blackmailer’s) wet dream.


In San Francisco at least, the cost is definitely not the reason people take TNCs instead of taxis. It’s because you simply cannot get a taxi most of the time, and if you do they don’t take credit cards. Especially if you want to get home at 4 am from some part of town that is not adjacent a popular hotel, you have no choice but to use Uber/Lyft/Whatever. And even if you are at a popular hotel, if there’s not an ATM around you still cannot take a taxi.


Um, how about this:


Of course the same thing can be done in any city that has an electronic public transit payment system as well.


Especially for ‘wait and return’ fares :stuck_out_tongue: When SWIM used to deal a bit, a second phone for taxis was considered a sound investment. Mind you, plenty of the cabbies in the biggest firm in my town will drop you off some surprisingly good coke anyways, so…

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Once upon a time, an ex phoned me at around 11:30 at night, and after some conversation we got onto the subject of whether or not they could beat me at arm wrestling. After I repeatedly insisted it was impossible, they told me to come over and prove it. So I headed right over, arriving shortly after midnight.

Somewhat to my amazement the end of this story really was just an arm wrestling match.

I assume that late night arm wrestling accounts for a significant number of those Uber rides.