Uber appeals $59M California fine over sexual assault data request

Uber appeals $59M California fine over sexual assault data request

Uber
on
Wednesday
appealed
a
$59
million
fine
by
a
California
regulator
in
a
dispute
over
whether
the
company
should
share

detailed
information
on
sexual
assault
and
harassment
claims
reported

on
its
ride-hailing
platform.

The
California
Public
Utilities
Commission
fined Uber in
December
after
the
company
refused
to
share
the
information,
including
full
names
and
contact
information,
arguing
that
doing
so
would
violate
victims’
rights
to
privacy.

On
Monday,
an
anti-sexual
abuse
group
also
appealed
the
decision
and
supported Uber’s
“transparency
and
commitment
to
protecting
survivors.”

Uber’s
Chief
Legal
Officer
Tony
West
said
during
a
Tuesday
interview
that
no
regulator
had
previously
asked Uber for
personally
identifiable
information
of
sexual
assault
victims,
and
said
the
CPUC
had
not
disclosed
why
it
needed
the
data.

“While
it
may
be
well
intentioned,
(contacting
those
individuals)
can
lead
to
the
retraumatization
of
survivors,”
West
said,
adding
that Uber had
repeatedly
offered
to
resolve
the
dispute
outside
litigation.

The
CPUC
did
not
respond
to
a
request
for
comment.

In
the
December
order,
a
CPUC
administrative
judge
said
privacy
concerns
could
be
addressed
by
replacing
victims’
names
with
a
code
to
allow
commission
staff
to
conduct
follow-up
investigations,
but

upheld
the
$59
million
fine
against
the
company
.

The
dispute
stems
from
a
safety
report Uber released
in
December
2019,
disclosing
6,000
reports
of
sexual
assault
related
to
2.3
billion
trips
in
the
United
States
in
2017
and
2018.

That
report,
aimed
at
ensuring
drivers
and
the
public
that Uber was
serious
about
safety,
has
put
the
company
in
the
spotlight.
Rival
Lyft
Inc
has
promised
a
similar
report,
but
has
yet
to
release
it.

On
Monday,
the
advocacy
group
RAINN
(Rape,
Abuse
&
Incest
National
Network),
appealed
the
CPUC’s
order.

“Companies
should
be
commended,
not
penalized,
for
their
transparency
and
commitment
to
protecting
survivors,”
the
non-profit
wrote
in
a
public
filing.

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