Uber’s taxi driver union in the UK has filed for a second legal challenge against the ride-hailing giant in Europe. This time the legal tussle is about Uber’s “robo-firing” practices that intervene in Article 22 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which seek to protect individuals from automated decision-making.
The legal case has been filed in the District Court of Amsterdam, where Uber’s European HQ is located.
Three different unions- App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), UK Trade union for drivers, couriers, and Worker Info Exchange, are backing the case. In coming days, the fourth union located in Portugal will be joining the battle- International Alliance of App-Based Transport Workers (IAATW)
British drivers claim that the Uber data overrules the algorithm that caused to get them fired.
However, Uber in its defences said, that drivers’ accounts were deactivated only after the manual review done by the team.
“Uber provides requested personal data and information that individuals are entitled to,” said a representative for Uber.
“We will give explanations when we cannot provide certain data, such as when it doesn’t exist or disclosing it would infringe on the rights of another person under GDPR.”
The European Union General Data Protection Regulation imposes complete obligations on companies collecting people’s personal information, if the data is related to EU consumers.
According to the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCCU), since 2018, more than 1000 individual cases where drivers have allegedly are wrongly accused of fraudulent activities had their account terminated.
“For any private hire operator in London, if they fire someone, there is a requirement where they have to report the driver to Transport for London (TfL),” James Farrar, the ADCU’s general secretary told the BBC.
“This is putting drivers in a Kafkaesque situation where they may be called in by TfL, they’re given 14 days to explain the situation and why they should keep their licence. Our drivers are in a terrible position because they don’t know what the issue is, Uber hasn’t told them.”
Second Challenge from the Union
This is ADCUs second challenge against the ride-hailing app for alleged “secret profiling.” This second challenge will run parallel to the fist.
- Uber has not presented that employees involved in automated decision-making, which includes-
- Interpreting the recommendation of Uber’s artificial intelligence system
- Able to predict how the output of the system changes after inputs are adjusted.
- Able to determine when the output is incorrect
Illegal deactivating the account
Many Uber drivers in the UK have been facing illegal activity by the ride-hailing app. One of the drivers associated with ADCU said, he has been driving for Uber two years with the customer rating of 4.94, but was suddenly terminated from the app. Many Uber UK taxi drivers are facing this automated termination.
“The day it happened, I went to work and on my app, it said I wasn’t allowed to log in. The app said to call customer support,” he said.
“I rang customer support and I was told that my account was deactivated because I had been engaging in fraudulent activities. “I was pleading with them in my emails repeatedly. I even asked if I could have a face-to-face meeting with the specialised team. I was willing to travel to another country to meet them,” he said.
Anton Ekker who is representing the case on behalf of British former Uber drivers, said, “We know for sure that Uber is using algorithms for decisions about fraud and deactivation of drivers. This is happening everywhere.”
Meanwhile, ADCU has asked Uber drivers and couriers impacted by deactivations to join the protest called “potential future action.”