Riding should be enjoyable but in terms of telling your whereabouts would be a different story.
It sure is fun to ride a scooter to school, office, or just go around the park. Aside from environment-friendly, it is a good way to exercise as well. However, most are not aware that the riding equipment could be selling out its rider. Riders should not only protect their heads by wearing a helmet but also their personal information.
Many venture capitalists spent billions of dollars to delve into the scooter technology since middle schoolers prefer to have one of their own. Large-scale companies such as Alphabet and Uber to name a few, supported the start-ups. They became inclined to the idea because of the data they could collect from hundreds and thousands of users.
Company scooter manufacturers like Bird, Lime, and Spin are gathering data from every people who purchased and use their scooters. Scanning the QR code means collecting more data than you can imagine. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), these companies could do better by:
Turning off never-ending data tracking. The scooter manufacturers have constant tracking from start to finish of the ride. It tracks every move from the moment the app is turned on. It will gather and store data about the rider’s activities and his whereabouts.
Lime and Bird possess the right to store data for an indefinite period of time regardless of a request for account deletion. Likewise, they hold back the right to share their users’ information with third parties consisting of sponsors, business partners, or even likely advertisers. The three scooter companies ascertained that they do not directly sell out data with third parties.
Curtailing of other insignificant data. These scooter companies should minimize its data collection such as social media data, pictures, and driver’s license. Logging in to a Lime account requires access to profile information that includes name and profile picture. Bird requires a picture of the owner’s driver’s license to unlock a scooter. These are all unnecessary data to gather just to ride a scooter.
Obliging government authorities to have a warrant. The accumulation and preservation of confidential information is a serious matter that should not be overlooked. The mentioned scooter companies confess that they might disclose user information and depend on “honest intention” assumption that they are asked to do so.
Enhancing visibility of privacy policies in the app. Privacy policies should be more visible in the app for every user to determine. Transparency helps build trust between the user and the manufacturer.
Conveying an in-depth security plan to users. The scooter manufacturers vowed to secure their users’ most sensitive data, but it’s not certain what measures they absolutely take. Companies that gather and store user data must always possess an extensive security plan and establish trust with users by having clear communication with their security procedures.
Spin has provided their statement regarding the issue of their collection and storing of their users’ information:
“Spin’s mission is to help people move around cities and campuses in a fast and environmentally-friendly way. We are constantly learning from our riders through surveys, interviews and app usage, and these insights help us improve our products and operations. As an example, we study popular pick-up and drop-off spots to decide where to drop off scooters every morning; we can also track the routes to inform users if they are riding in unpermitted or unsafe areas. However, we always put our riders first and do not sell user data to third parties.”