Uber violated California consumer protection laws when it concealed a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of drivers and riders, a lawsuit filed against the rideshare company by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, in October 2016, hackers stole the names, cell phone numbers and email addresses of more than 57 million Uber riders across the world as well as driver’s license numbers for 600,000 Uber drivers in the United States. Uber waited until last month to disclose this information.
Feuer filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of California residents and the case will focus on the rideshare company’s failure to disclose the data breach to Californians. State law mandates that companies report data breaches and hacks as soon as possible and “without unreasonable delay” when some forms of personal information including driver’s license numbers are compromised. This California law is designed to help consumers combat identity theft.
Uber’s Data Breach Cover Up
Uber’s handling of this data breach has raised eyebrows around the world. The company basically paid hackers $100,000 to destroy the data, pressured them to sign nondisclosure agreements and portrayed the ransom as a payment to test the vulnerabilities of the company’s data security systems. In other words, Uber made an attempt to cover up the data breach.
Feuer said the city has filed this lawsuit because consumer rights must be protected. The lawsuit seeks $2,500 for the violation of each law. The money would be shared between the city and county and spent on other consumer protection efforts. In January 2016, Uber paid a $20,000 fine to the New York attorney general for failing to promptly report a separate data breach in 2014.
While it’s commendable that the city is going after Uber, the consumers who were actually affected by the data breach will not be compensated in this lawsuit. Consumers who wish to pursue compensation may be able to file a class action lawsuit against Uber. In addition to receiving compensation, class action lawsuits are good way for consumers to band together and hold unethical and negligent corporations accountable. An experienced California class action lawsuit attorney can help guide consumers and fight for justice.