This update comes after an external review of Uber's privacy program, prompted by a series of issues and PR catastrophes involving customer privacy. If you recall, some Uber employees used the "God View" tracker embedded in the app to spy on the whereabouts of a Buzzfeed reporter and a high-profile venture capitalist last year. All its corporate employees (but not its drivers) reportedly had access to God View and could monitor a user's activities. Let's not forget the time an exec made a remark about hiring a team to dig up personal dirt on journalists that criticize the service, as well.
The new Privacy Statement will take effect on July 15th, so expect to see the app asking you for permission to switch on real-time tracking and to access your address book by then. If you're not exactly fond of these changes, don't worry: the company told TechCrunch that the app will work just fine even if you choose not to switch them on.
Update (June 1st, 2015): An Uber spokesperson has clarified to Engadget that tracking passengers in real time and accessing users' address books are merely "potential new use cases." The company has no solid plans to roll those features out at the moment "We are not currently collecting this data and have no plans to start on July 15," she said. "If we decide to ask for these permissions, users will be in control and choose whether they want to share the data with Uber." The spokesperson also assured us that if the company ever launches those features, the app will still work even if you opt out.