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RIDE-HAIL DATA CONCERNS: Contact Information Commissioner not the regulator, says Mayor of London


Private hire data concerns mobile phone in car cradle
Image credit: Bing Image Creator

Transport for London (TfL) cannot take action against operators that use algorithms to determine how much drivers are paid or use personal data profiling as part of its business model.


The Mayor of London suggested that ride hail drivers who were concerned about their use of data should contact the Information Commissioner, and not those that regulate the transport operators that drivers work for.

London Assembly Member Siân Berry put forward concerns that the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) had protested against the use of algorithmically determined fares and pay, and raised concerns about invasive personal profiling of drivers.


The question follows a fresh digital rights rulings, where the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam found in favour of workers and against Uber and Ola Cabs.


Worker Info Exchange (WIE) brought the cases in support of members of the ADCU in Great Britain and a driver based in Portugal.

The cases were brought under the GDPR which guarantees everyone the right to demand access to their personal data processed by any organisation and to receive meaningful information about the processing of such data. In addition, the GDPR gives everyone certain protections from automated decision making where there are significant negative consequences.


The first case involved four drivers who were found to be effectively ‘robo-fired’ by Uber without recourse. The second case involved the denial of access to personal data upon requests made to Uber by six drivers. The third case involved the denial of access to personal data upon requests made to Ola Cabs by three drivers.


Berry asked the the Mayor what steps he has taken to address the concerns, and asked how he is regulating the PHV services that use these practices which are licensed by TfL.


Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, responded: “Transport for London (TfL) regulates taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) services in London.


“Regulation of PHV services is in accordance with the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, which does not provide for TfL to regulate PHV fares. Any concerns about the use of personal data should be raised with the Information Commissioner.”

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