Uber drivers consider appeal in Dutch case over data access

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A group representing former Uber drivers from Britain is considering whether to appeal a decision by a Dutch court that largely backed the ride-hailing company in a dispute over access to data collected about drivers.

FILE PHOTO: The Uber logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Illustration

The District Court of Amsterdam on Thursday largely sided with the U.S. technology company, which said it already provided as much information as it could to drivers, and that it could not do more without compromising the privacy of customers.

The drivers at a hearing in December had demanded full access to data gathered through the app they were required to use to do their job, saying Uber’s algorithms ultimately decided how much money they could earn.

The case was brought in the Netherlands because it is home to Uber’s European headquarters.

Uber was ordered to give drivers information on the ratings customers gave on individual rides, as long as the information was made anonymous, but several other claims were dismissed.

Worker Info Exchange, the group representing the drivers, hailed the ratings decision as a victory, and said there were good grounds for an appeal on other matters.

“The court has required drivers to provide greater specificity on the personal data sought rather than placing the burden on firms like Uber to clearly explain what personal data is held and how it is processed,” it said in a statement.

The court also disagreed with a complaint by some drivers that Uber had automatically deactivated their account solely on the basis that its algorithms had indicated they were suspected of fraudulent behaviour.

“Decisions were not based only on automatically generated data,” the court said.

It ordered Uber to give drivers more information about the decision to terminate their account, but dismissed claims for financial compensation.

“This is a crucial decision,” Uber spokesman Gus Glover said in a statement. “The Court has confirmed Uber’s dispatch system does not equate to automated decision making, and that we provided drivers with the data they are entitled to.”

Reporting by Bart Meijer. Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter