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Franken presses Uber on use of 'God View' tool

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (D-Minn.) fired off his second letter to Uber on Tuesday asking for more detail on the ride sharing company's privacy policies. 

Last year, Franken pressed the company on its privacy policies, specifically the company’s use of the “God View” tool, which allows some employees to see the locations of Uber cars in real time. 

The Minnesota Democrat had previously expressed frustration with the lack of detail in the company’s December response. 

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“After carefully reviewing your response of December 15, I have identified several key areas where I continue to have significant questions and concerns,” he said in the letter to Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive. 

Franken’s initial letter last year came following suggestions that the multi-billion dollar company improperly accessed a journalist’s ride information.

The senator on Tuesday asked what portion of Uber staff has access to the “God view” tool and why is it necessary for them to use it. He also asked who has access to broader location data that the company keeps on file. 

In Uber’s first response, the company said its operations team, fraud prevention team and others have access to the tool. 

Franken also asked for more information about the company’s policy of sharing customer information internally and with third parties, as well as it retention of data after customers cancel their membership. 

He also asked for additional information about Uber’s privacy training, and whether customers are notified if their information is inappropriately accessed. 

Franken is the ranking member on the Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. He has been a strong privacy hawk and previously introduced legislation to give more protections to customers’ geolocation information.