Uber discloses information it handed over to government

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Story highlights

  • Uber published its first-ever transparency report Tuesday
  • It revealed what information was handed over to state and federal agencies

(CNN)If you thought that Uber ride was between you, the driver and your smartphone that may not have been the case.

The ride-sharing service revealed Tuesday -- in its first-ever transparency report -- that it handed over data on more than 12 million passengers and drivers during the last six months of 2015.
    The company says like other tech companies it receives requests from state and local government regulators as well as law enforcement agencies for information on their passengers and drivers.
    "The agencies request information about trips, trip requests, pickup and drop-off areas, fares, vehicles and drivers in their jurisdictions for a given time period," Uber said in its new report.
    The company said it was releasing this transparency report in hopes it "will lead to a public debate about the types and amounts of information regulated services should be required to provide to their regulators, and under what circumstances."
    Uber receives law enforcement requests for information related to criminal investigations, and "may provide information about specific trips, riders or drivers in response it," the report said.
    Uber says a large number of the law enforcement requests are related to fraud investigations or the use of stolen credit cards.
    The report shows between July and December 2015 there were 415 requests for data from state and law enforcement agencies.
    "In non-emergency situations, we require legal process before we disclose any information about drivers or riders to law enforcement. In emergency situations -- for example, when there is an imminent threat of harm to a rider or driver -- Uber works expeditiously with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our riders and drivers," the company said.
    Uber said in many cases, agencies send blanket requests "without explaining why the information is needed or how it will be used."
    "While this kind of trip data doesn't include personal information, it can reveal patterns of behavior -- and is more than regulators need to do their jobs. It's why Uber frequently tries to narrow the scope of these demands, though our efforts are typically rebuffed," the company said in a statement.