Uber drivers are suing the company to better understand how they are managed by algorithms

  • UK-based Uber drivers have filed a lawsuit requesting access to personal data that the company holds about them.
  • Drivers are concerned that information about late arrivals, cancellations, and complaints about attitude and inappropriate behaviour from customers is counted against them.
  • The lawsuit argues that failing to share this information violates the EU's data privacy regulation, GDPR.
  • The lawsuit could be a gamechanger, potentially giving gig-economy workers greater power a boss that is effectively an algorithm.
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Uber drivers really want to know what data the ridesharing app collects about them, and how that information is used to make decisions.

A union acting on behalf of Uber drivers in the UK is suing the company in the Netherlands, Uber's European headquarters, to clarify how it uses data to match riders with drivers.

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) claims Uber monitors the performance of drivers by tagging their profiles with information about late arrivals, cancellations, and complaints about attitude and inappropriate behaviour from customers. 

Despite multiple requests, the suit says company has provided drivers with little to no access to personal data.

The union will argue that restricting drivers' access to this information violates GDPR regulation, the EU's data privacy laws.

The union has filed the lawsuit requesting access to the data and for Uber to be fined €10,000 ($11,500) for every day it fails to comply in the Netherlands, where Uber is headquartered. 

Uber has claimed in multiple previous legal challenges that drivers are self-employed and free from the control of the company's management.  

The suit is significant to the wider gig economy, where workers are essentially directed by algorithms rather than human bosses. A victory in this instance might grant those workers greater power.

The filing comes one day before Uber tries to overturn a UK ruling that drivers are employees and not contractors in the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the company will argue against a 2016 decision that drivers are entitled to employee rights like the minimum wage, holiday, and whistleblower protection.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Uber.Exclusive FREE Report: 30 Big Tech Predictions for 2020 by Business Insider Intelligence

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