EU privacy regulators set up task force to liaise on Uber hack probes

Uber's logo is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union privacy regulators said on Wednesday they had set up a task force to coordinate national investigations into ride-hailing app Uber’s massive data breach cover-up.

Uber faces fresh regulatory scrutiny after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company covered up a data breach last year that exposed personal data from around 57 million accounts.

The company later told Britain’s data protection authority that the vast majority of its UK users were affected by the 2016 data breach. No information has emerged on whether the breach affected other European countries.

European data protection authorities said after meeting on Wednesday that the French, Italian, Spanish, Belgian, British and German regulators would be part of the task force, led by the Dutch authority, where Uber has its European headquarters.

The task force will not have the power to impose joint sanctions on the company, however, and investigations will still be conducted at national level.

Uber said it will cooperate fully with the task force.

Known for its combative stance with local taxi regulators, Uber has faced a stream of top-level executive departures over issues ranging from sexual harassment to data privacy to driver working conditions, leading its board to remove Travis Kalanick as CEO in June.

Uber paid hackers $100,000 to keep the massive data breach secret.

The stolen information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of Uber users around the world, and the names and licence numbers of 600,000 U.S. drivers, Khosrowshahi said last week.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Adrian Croft