A profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in the New York Times that suggested Uber once used unauthorized code to track former users, even after they deleted its app, has prompted a clarification from the ride-hailing company.
Uber’s alleged tracking earned Kalanick an in-person rebuke from Apple CEO Tim Cook, says the Times. Cook reportedly demanded a stop to the practice, in order for Uber’s iOS app to remain available on the App Store at all—a demand to which Kalanick acceded.
An Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement that it had used fingerprinting technology to prevent fraud in locations such as China, where drivers would earn bonuses by requesting rides from bogus Uber accounts set up on stolen phones.
“Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts,” the statement from Uber said. “Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”
However, the spokesperson clarified, “We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app.”
Read the full explanation here.