‘Productive engagements’- Uber fails to confirm agreement with Lagos govt on data sharing

Ejike Kanife
Uber also said users need not worry about personal data privacy
Uber makes its first profit since becoming public in 2019

In the wake of reports that the Lagos State Government has reached a truce with leading ride-hailing company, Uber, over a recent row about data sharing, the ride-hailing company has refused to confirm if this was true.

A spokesperson told Technext that they have had “productive engagements’ with the state government and are “open to continue doing so”. This was disclosed following a query into the matter.

According to an Uber spokesperson who responded to the inquiry:

“We have had productive engagements with the Lagos State Government and are open to continue doing so. Our commitment to meeting the data-sharing requirements stipulated by the Lagos State Government remains in place.

Uber

This is coming after the Lagos State Director of Transport Operations, Olasunkanmi Ojowuro, in a phone conversation with another media house, said that the state government has reached a truce with Uber and has since released the vehicles impounded from drivers operating on the mobility company’s app.

We have reached a truce, we shifted ground, and Uber too has shifted ground. The impounded cars have since been released after 72 hours, based on compassionate grounds,” Mr Ojowuro reportedly said.

Moove, Uber drivers in Nigeria are protesting against “slavery, extortion and unbearable working conditions”
Clamp down on Uber drivers
Uber’s row with the Lagos State Government

Recall that Technext broke the news in March that The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation had started impounding vehicles belonging to e-hailing drivers operating on the Uber app. The reason for this was that the ride-hailing company refused to integrate its API with the state government’s so that they may have access to both drivers’ and riders’ data.

Read more here: Lagos government begins impounding Uber/Moove vehicles over failure to provide access to database

At the time, Uber said it was already sharing the required data with the Lagos State government daily through a secure and automated platform. The company, however, said it was unclear about the requirements for real-time data sharing.

It is important to note that the Lagos State regulation for taxi-hailing that all players assented to, mandates that “all operators of e-hailing taxi services MUST give the ministry ACCESS to their database.”

While it did not require the ride-hailing companies to share their data, it mandates that the State’s Ministry of Transport have access to their databases. While other e-hailing companies appeared to have granted access, Uber had raised concerns about surveillance and argued that the privacy of its users might be compromised if it granted access to its database to the government.

To enforce its regulation on the mobility company, the Lagos State Government had started impounding vehicles operating on the app.

According to drivers whose vehicles were impounded, the ministry adopted a Gestapo-styled tactic to lure them. One of the victims explained that the MOT officials operated by ordering a ride on the Uber app only to set upon the drivers who accepted, deflated their tyres and impounded their vehicles.

Nigerian drivers' union accuses Uber and Bolt of trying to hijack and impose a yellow union over the e-hailing industry

But, it now seems a truce has been called, although the response does not suggest any concrete agreement has been reached. Neither did the official announcement

Asked about privacy concerns and whether its drivers and riders that value privacy should be worried that their information has been made accessible to a third party, the spokesperson said that the data-sharing agreement does not include any personally identifiable information of users.


The Data Sharing Agreement does not include any personally identifiable information of users. We do the right thing with data and maintain the value of personal data for Uber and our users by handling data as users expect and in line with applicable data protection laws and global best practices.” the Uber Spokesperson said.


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!