ICO: Uber data breach raises huge concerns

The ICO said the way in which Uber dealt with a major data breach has raised "huge concerns" over the company's data protection policies and ethics.

The UK's data regulation body said concealing a data breach should come with a much larger fine than the standard penalities imposed on organisations that fail to sufficiently protect their customers' data. Uber is alleged to have paid the hackers $100,000 not to mention it had hacked the taxi booking app's systems, according to Bloomberg.

"It's always the company's responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and take steps to reduce any harm to consumers," ICO deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said in a statement.

"If UK citizens were affected then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed."

The ICO said it would investigate into the breach, including ascertaining how many UK citizens have been affected and to what extent. Uber revealed that information such as names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers had been accessed, but there's currently no evidence that social security numbers, payment details and trip data was stolen.

"We'll be working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) plus other relevant authorities in the UK and overseas to determine the scale of the breach, how it has affected people in the UK and what steps need to be taken by the firm to ensure it fully complies with its data protection obligations," Dipple-Johnstone added.

The NCSC has also spoken out against Uber's actions, saying that any company that finds it has been subject of a cyber attack shoud report it immediately for the safety of citizens.

"The more information a company shares in a timely manner, the better able we are to support them and prevent others falling victim," it said.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.