Apple came close to removing the Uber app from the App Store after it was found to be in breach of iOS privacy rules.
According to a report in the New York Times, Apple chief executive Tim Cook met with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to warn him that the Uber app would be removed.
The report claims that Uber failed to adhere to App Store rules by carrying out a practice known as iPhone tagging.
Uber is accused of installing a line of code that enabled it to track users and identify individual iPhones even if the app had been deleted.
The report also claims that Uber technicians “geofenced” the Apple headquarters in California so that employees who were tasked with examining Uber’s code would spot the iPhone tagging.
While the practice was not used to track locations or activity, it could tell if the Uber app had been installed and then deleted.
However, Apple has previously banned this technique for privacy reasons.
The New York Times says that Tim Cook met with Travis Kalanick in 2015 and told him that if the practice continued, Uber would be removed the app store.
Uber said it has not stopped tagging smartphones and does so in order to protect its users, However, it did say it has modified the practice in order to comply with Apple’s rules.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for Uber said: “We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that for years Uber used a secret tool in order to avoid authorities in countries where its ride hailing service faced resistance from law enforcement agencies.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.