The reasons to dislike Uber are as large and numerous as its paper valuation, but they all revolve around one central free market conceit: Uber never hides its contempt for you. The latest example comes from venture capitalist Peter Sims, whose ride was tracked to entertain guests at an Uber party.
One night, a couple of years ago, I was in an Uber SUV in NYC, headed to Penn Station to catch the train to Washington DC when I got a text message from a tech socialite of sorts (I'll spare her name because Gawker has already parodied her enough), but she's someone I hardly know, asking me if I was in an Uber car at 33th and 5th (or, something like that). I replied that I was indeed, thinking that she must be in an adjacent car. Looking around, she continued to text with updates of my car's whereabouts, so much so that I asked the driver if others could see my Uber location profile? "No," he replied, "that's not possible."
At that point, it all just started to feel weird, until finally she revealed that she was in Chicago at the launch of Uber Chicago, and that the party featured a screen that showed where in NYC certain "known people" (whatever that means) were currently riding in Uber cabs. After learning this, I expressed my outrage to her that the company would use my information and identity to promote its services without my permission. She told me to calm down, and that it was all a "cool" event and as if I should be honored to have been one of the chosen.
This story has it all: Julia Allison, creepy surveillance, and absolute indifference toward the feelings of the customer. I asked Uber for a comment on the Sims story—Who has access to your riding coordinates? Does Uber regularly entertain partygoers with your GPS data?—but have not received a reply and am not expecting one.