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Uber Hires IBM’s Former Chief Privacy Officer To Review Its Practices

Harriet Pearson worked at IBM for nearly two decades, overseeing security and data protection.

Uber Hires IBM’s Former Chief Privacy Officer To Review Its Practices
[Photo: Flickr user Orin Zebest]
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Uber is in damage-control mode. To mitigate the offhand remarks an Uber exec made last week about potentially digging up dirt on journalists, the ridesharing service said Thursday that it has hired IBM’s former chief privacy officer to audit how Uber handles customer data.

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Harriet Pearson and her law firm, Hogan Lovells, will assess Uber’s existing protocol and make recommendations to prevent unauthorized access to its data. Before joining the firm as a partner in 2012, Pearson worked at IBM for 19 years, overseeing security and data protection for the company’s 400,000 employees and thousands of clients.

On Monday BuzzFeed published a damning report about Uber senior vice president of business Emil Michael, who discussed the possibility of hiring opposition researchers to investigate its critics in the media. Shortly after, some reporters claimed that the company had in the past accessed their data without permission. Many also decried an internal tool called God View, which mapped passengers’ whereabouts in real time, as an abuse of power and invasion of customers’ privacy.

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About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal

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