Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac:
But during the “charm offensive” Josh Mohrer, Uber’s brash and cocky general manager in Manhattan, had made a grave mistake. In an interview that week he let slip a mention of an early version of “Heaven,” a tool that provided a “God View” of riders on trips in real time. The reporter had taken an Uber to meet with Mohrer that afternoon. Mohrer bragged that he had tracked her the whole way. The comment would not go unnoticed.
Eight days after the first story broke, Quentin’s team was hit with a bombshell. As scrutiny intensified in the wake of Uber’s recent scandals, an enterprising young hacker in Arizona named Joe Giron had decoded Uber’s Android application and found the list of data access permissions Uber’s app requested upon installation. The litancy went far beyond what most Uber users expected: phone book, camera access, text message conversation logs, access to Wi-Fi connections. These were permissions that were suspect for any app to request, much less a taxi service. Why would a ride-hailing app need access to their customers’ text messages or camera? It was seen as a broad overreach into users’ privacy. Not only was Uber willing to go after journalists, but the company also wanted to know everything about you and your phone.