Uber drivers launch legal battle to see the company's algorithm

Drivers' union will argue that the ride-hailing firm is violating the GDPR's right to access

A group of UK-based Uber drivers have launched legal action against the ride-hailing firm arguing that it has violated its obligations under the GDPR

Uber has failed to provide sufficient information on its Driver App and the algorithms used to automate much of their workflow, according to the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU). 

The case is being brought to court in the Netherlands, where Uber's European headquarters are based, and is supported by the International Alliance of App-based Transport Workers (IAATW). 

Multiple UK-based drivers say they have been given access to little or no data despite making clear and comprehensive requests to the company. The case will argue that the drivers are subject to performance monitoring at work and the union will present evidence of how Uber has attached performance-related electronic tags to driver profiles with categories, such as lateness, cancelled rides or inappropriate behaviour. 

The ADCU said this was a clear violation of the GDPR as Uber has failed to provide access to this performance-related profile data, the associated electronic tags and also the reason for processing it.

"Drivers must have full transparency over algorithmic management and complete access to their data so they can build real collective bargaining power in their union," said Azeem Hanif, the chair of ADCU Nottingham. "Once again, Uber is flouting the law and exploiting low paid workers."

The drivers will ask the dutch court to make an order that Uber immediately comply with data protection law and to be fined €10,000 for each day it continues to violate the law. 

The ADCU has launched a CrowdJustice campaign to help fund the action and is calling on all Uber drivers and Uber Eats couriers in the UK and the European Economic Area to register for free to join the collective action for digital rights. The drivers will be represented in the Netherlands by their attorney Anton Ekker.

"With Uber BV based in the Netherlands as the operator of the Uber platform, the Dutch courts now have an important role to play in ensuring Uber's compliance with the GDPR," Ekker said.

"This is a landmark case in the gig economy with workers asserting their digital rights for the purposes of advancing their worker rights." 

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