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Lyft tightens employee access to rider data, but it may not be enough

It implemented changes following claims some employees abused data access in 2018.
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SIPA USA/PA Images

Last year, Lyft investigated reports that its workers abused access to customer data, using their powers to stalk lovers and snoop on celebrities. Thankfully, the ride-hailing service has implemented changes since then: According to The Information, when a Lyft employee or contractor looks up rider details these days, they'll see a warning message reminding them that their actions are logged and could be audited.

Lyft has reportedly limited user info access to workers that need the data as part of their day-to-day jobs. However, it's unclear what kind of positions won't be able to peek at user information anymore. Employees also told the publication that it's still pretty easy to look up rider details and that the changes to Lyft's security measures are nowhere near enough. They said the company's enhanced security measures are mostly just made up of two elements: beefing up the process of requesting access to sensitive data and training new workers on how to do so.

Prior to these changes, staff members reportedly didn't get formal training until they've been on the job for weeks, even months. But after they've received formal privacy training, employees and contractors will still be able to access riders' names, phone numbers, email addresses and ride histories. It's up to the personnel to adhere to policy that prohibits data access for personal use and for sharing outside the company. That said, Lyft did set up an anonymous tip line for complaints about employees misusing data after its investigation in 2018.

The ride-hailing service's new security measures are similar to Uber's, which also issues warnings on employees' dashboard tools and trains staff on the proper ways to access user data. However, The Information says Uber's "appears to be more robust," mostly because it's been under intense scrutiny since the God View scandal blew up. Hopefully, Lyft tightens up its security measures even further to ensure users' privacy in the future.

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