Uber appeals $59m California fine over sexual assault data
Uber Technologies on Wednesday appealed a $59m fine by a California regulator in a dispute over data regarding sexual assault claims.
The appeal regards the companies’ actions on whether it should share detailed information on sexual assault and harassment claims reported on its ride-hailing platform.
Uber released a report in December 2019, disclosing 6,000 reports of sexual assault related to 2.3bn trips in the United States in 2017 and 2018.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fined Uber in December after the company refused to share the information, including full names and contact information, arguing that doing so would violate victims’ rights to privacy.
On Monday, an anti-sexual abuse group also appealed the decision and supported Uber’s “transparency and commitment to protecting survivors.”
Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West said on Tuesday said it was the first time that a regulator asked for such data and said the CPUC had not disclosed why it needed it.
“While it may be well intentioned, (contacting those individuals) can lead to the retraumatization of survivors,” West said.
In the December order, a CPUC administrative judge said privacy concerns could be addressed by replacing victims’ names with a code, but upheld the $59m fine against the company.
On Monday, the advocacy group RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), appealed the CPUC’s order.
“Companies should be commended, not penalized, for their transparency and commitment to protecting survivors,” the non-profit wrote in a public filing.