Fingerprinting has long been a controversial topic for scandal-laden Uber. The ride-sharing service, alongside its prime competitor, Lyft, has fought efforts to identify its drivers using the traditional sense of the word: marks representing the unique whorl of each person’s fingertip.
Uber’s latest fingerprint brouhaha has gone digital.
While Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at privacy rights group the Center for Democracy and Technology, says fingerprinting to prevent fraud is both “useful” and “increasingly standard-operating procedure,” he expressed concerns about other uses of fingerprinting.
“Where it gets dicey is when those powerful mechanisms are used for other nonsecurity uses, such as marketing,” he says. “In contrast to other forms of tracking, there are no effective user controls for fingerprinting, which means that users are left without ways to ensure their history online doesn’t follow them around.”