Uber removes racy blog posts on prostitution, one-night stands
NEW YORK — Uber tracks and analyzes a lot more than you’d think — from your one-night stands to the prevalence of prostitutes in your favorite pick-up location.
But Uber is in damage control mode, under intense scrutiny for its aggressive tactics and threatening journalists. And that means it has been pulling down some of its most interesting (and sometimes edgy) blog posts.
The ride service company’s #UberData blog is now squeaky clean.
Among the missing posts: A 2011 study that finds people who are located in the San Francisco neighborhoods with the most prostitution, theft, burglary and alcohol-related crimes order the most Uber rides.
Uber recently took down the blog post, but a cached version is still available online.
Another post showed that Uber has figured out a way to track single-night sexual encounters. The tell-tale sign? You requested a ride between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday — then got picked up from your drop-off point just a few hours later.
A cached version of that blog post is also available, thanks to the Internet Archive project.
What we call one-night stands, Uber calls “rides of glory.” And it isn’t necessarily creepy, until you realize that Uber knows exactly who its riders are and keeps detailed accounts of every ride.
This kind of physical tracking is why U.S. Senator Al Franken is now going after Uber, asking that the startup explain its privacy policies.
Uber didn’t respond to requests for comment. The neuroscientist who authored those studies, Bradley Voytek, didn’t immediately respond for comment either. He left Uber earlier this year.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was forced to apologize publicly after an executive recently suggested digging up dirt on journalists who are critical of the firm. The company is also investigating whether an executive inappropriately tracked journalists’ locations when they were riding in Uber cars.
Last week, PayPal co-founder (and Uber rival Lyft investor) Peter Thiel called Uber “the most ethically challenged company in Silicon Valley.”
Uber has already made enemies in governments worldwide by taking on the taxi industry. Now it’s losing even more friends.