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FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber is taking its ride-hailing app down a new road in an effort to make it smarter, simpler and more fun to use. The redesigned app also will seek to mine personal information stored on smartphones in a change that could raise privacy concerns, even though it will be up to individual users to let Uber peer into their calendars and address books.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Lawsuit claims Uber employees secretly tracked politicians and celebrities


| Privacy concerns

Uber employees reportedly used the company’s tracking system to monitor “high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances,” according to a declaration, obtained by The Verge,  in a lawsuit against the popular ride-share company.

Ward Spangenberg, a former forensic investigator at Uber, filed the lawsuit claiming internal employees used company information to do things like help ex-boyfriends stalk their ex-girlfriends and locate celebrities.

Uber got a lot of heat earlier this month for having users always allow location access.

Even actress Kristen Bell has hopped along an Uber ride before.

|More on the lawsuit

Spangenberg is suing the San Francisco-based ride-hailing behemoth for age discrimination (he’s 45) and whistleblower retaliation.

"I also reported that Uber’s lack of security, and allowing all employees to access this information (as opposed to a small security team) was resulting in a violation of governmental regulations regarding data protection and consumer privacy rights," he stated in the declaration. Uber fired him 11 months later, according to revealnews.org.

Celebrities are no strangers to the Uber app. Here, singer Lorde talks about one of her rides.

| Uber responds

In a statement, Uber said it maintains strict policies to protect customer data and comply with legal proceedings. It acknowledged that it had fired employees for improper access, putting the number at “fewer than 10.”

“We have hundreds of security and privacy experts working around the clock to protect our data,” Uber said in a statement.

Here is the rest of the statement obtained by The Verge:

"This includes enforcing strict policies and technical controls to limit access to user data to authorized employees solely for purposes of their job responsibilities, and all potential violations are quickly and thoroughly investigated," the company said.

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