Judge Says San Francisco Can Subpoena Uber for Driver Records

Jun 23, 2017

A California state judge said on Thursday that San Francisco can demand from Uber records containing the ride-hailing company's driver contact information, the city attorney said.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera last month sought a court order compelling Uber Technologies to comply with the city's demands for information about the company's drivers. The city Treasurer and Tax Collector's Office wants the names, addresses and driver's license numbers of Uber's drivers.

Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer in San Francisco said in court that he will rule that the tax office has the authority to subpoena Uber for the information, Herrera said in a statement. The official ruling was expected as early as late Thursday.

Uber had provided the city with the driver information for more than two years, but stopped in December. The company argues that the request violates driver privacy and could endanger drivers' safety.

Ulmer said Uber had failed to show that the information requested constitutes a protected trade secret or that its disclosure would violate drivers' privacy. The city says the driver data provided through the subpoena would be protected and treated as confidential taxpayer information and not posted publicly.

However, the city says it would use the subpoenaed information to contact Uber drivers and request they fill out a business registration. Information provided on the registration, which may include a business name and address such as a post office box, would be posted on a public website.

The case does not involve Lyft, Uber's ride-hailing competitor also based in San Francisco. Lyft does provide driver data to the city.

The judge directed Uber and the city to confer and report back to him by July 3.

In a separate case, San Francisco earlier this month issued subpoenas to Uber and Lyft for a broad scope of records on driving and business practices as part of an investigation to determine whether the companies have become a public nuisance. That case is ongoing.

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