Considering Uber? Consider this


Uber is your Big Brother: It tracks you everywhere, even when you’re not using the Uber app

(NaturalNews) Uber, the popular mobile ride-finding app, has been at the center of controversy since its launch in 2009. Much of the uproar has been due to the fact that its low-cost ride service poses a direct threat to the livelihood of cab drivers and other professional drivers who claim that the competition is unfair, unethical and downright illegal. In March 2015, Brussels cab drivers went on strike in protest of the Uber service, and since then, there has been increasing pressure on the company regarding its practices.

In June, the debate reached a fever pitch when taxi drivers in France staged anti-Uber demonstrations that turned violent, leading to a raid by police on the Uber headquarters in Paris and the detainment of two Uber executives for questioning.

However, there is another issue with the Uber smartphone app that has raised serious concerns among the public and various privacy groups: Uber tracks and records information regarding the location of passengers who use the service even when the app is not in use.

In the first years of its operations, Uber came under fire over charges that the company had “casually” used the information it gathered with its “God View” technology, which gives the company the capability of monitoring the location of all its drivers as well as users who have flagged its vehicles. The company even reportedly shared some of this data with third parties who did not work for Uber.

Recently, however, it has been revealed that Uber’s updated policy tracks passengers and allows access to their personal information.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., has called for the Federal Trade Commission to conduct an investigation into the company’s invasive practices.

The complaint filed by the EPIC reads:

Uber will claim the right to collect personal information and detailed location data of American consumers, even when they are not using the service.

Among the concerns raised by the EPIC complaint is the fact that Uber employees have admitted to tracking the geo-locations and other info regarding journalists who were questioning the company’s policies. The EPIC also points to the possible threat of hackers gaining access to users’ personal information.

In the EU, regulators have been scrutinizing the company’s privacy policies in an attempt to determine if Uber is in compliance with European privacy laws. Among the EU regulations are requirements that companies that use geo-location tracking must first obtain clear consent from the user.

EU guidelines also require the company to provide users with “comprehensive, easily accessible and understandable notice” regarding their data collection policies and to allow users access to their own collected data so that they can modify or delete particular details.

Finally, the regulations require that the data collected by companies such as Uber must be deleted as soon as the information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was obtained.

It is unclear at this point whether Uber has revised its policies to reflect the EU regulations or similar privacy laws in the United States. The company has stated that it it amended its privacy policies to address the concerns raised by various legal entities and privacy groups.

Judging from Uber’s past track record, there is plenty to remain concerned about. The company has showed a clear disregard for the privacy rights of its users, not to mention their continued undermining of the rights of cab drivers and other professionals throughout the world whose jobs have been threatened by Uber’s cheap, non-professional ride services.


An App To Contact Spirit

Who Ya Gonna Call? Mobile App Conjures Spirit World

By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor   |   August 07, 2013
 Millions of people get messages on their iPhones, but can a new app send messages from beyond the grave?
Credit: Apple

Sending and receiving messages from beyond the grave used to require a caftan-wearing medium hosting a séance in a dark, candlelit room.

How 20th century. Today’s medium can ditch the caftan in favor of an iPhone, now that a pair of developers in Greenwood, Ind., have developed Spirit Story Box, an app that claims to let the dead communicate with the living.

Developers Roger Pingleton and Jill Beitz of StreamSide Software created Spirit Story Box in an effort to improve on other paranormal apps, the Indianapolis Star reports.

The iPhone app, upon detecting the presence of otherworldly spirits, displays the words that the dead would like communicate (not unlike a modern-day Ouija board).

“The program looks at certain variables within the computer itself and it keeps track of certain selectors, and when it gets to a point where it’s going to spit out a word it uses those selectors to select the words,” Pingleton told the Star.

Skeptics, however, have translated Pingleton’s comment as one way of saying that the app is really just a random word generator, cleverly packaged to appeal to would-be ghostbusters.

And apparently, there are a lot of them: A Harris Poll from 2003 revealed that more than half of Americans believe in ghosts, including 65 percent of those ages 25 to 29.

Other apps have been designed to appeal to those with an interest in the paranormal. Some mobile apps, like GhostCam, let users add semi-transparent ghostly images of children, Confederate soldiers, monks or other historical figures in the background of otherwise ordinary photos.

Another app, Ghost Radar, claims to detect so-called “energy readings” that are supernatural in origin. But “since results from this application cannot be verified scientifically, the app should be used for entertainment purposes,” according to the product’s description.

Pingleton seems to understand the entertainment value in his Spirit Story Box app. “Bottom line is, we wanted people to have fun with it,” he told the Star.


SIGHT — Film on Digitizing Retinal Implants

‘Sight’: Short Film Takes Google Glasses To Their Logical Nightmarish End (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 08/03/2012 5:04 pm Updated: 08/03/2012

In ‘Sight,’ a haunting new short by Eran May-Raz and Daniel Lazo, we catch glimpse of a world seemingly not unlike our own. Created as a grad project for Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, the film depicts a future where people have retinal implants that digitize the world before them. Suddenly everything is in “app” form, from cutting vegetables to picking an outfit for a date–people are coached through their activities and awarded points for the tasks they accomplish correctly. Without giving anything away, as the film progresses the more twisted and distorted this new reality becomes.

With the advent of google glasses and rumors about a similar Apple-patented design, this chilling sci-fi film doesn’t feel so improbable.



Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.