No sharing of data on drivers, riders despite Grab-Uber deal

No personal information of drivers and passengers of ride-sharing firm Uber will be migrated to the Grab platform once the Uber’s local operations cease on April 8. This, as Grab vowed to ensure that the personal data of Uber’s passengers as well as its drivers will be protected.

Photo shows (from left) Grab PH country head Brian Cu, NPC chair Raymund Liboro, LTRFB board member Aileen Lizada, and NPC deputy commissioners Leandro Angelo “Dino” Aguirre and Ivy Patdu

“There is no acquisition of data. Even after April 8, no data will be shared. There is no path for us to take Uber’s data. The data we received from Uber is upon consent only on the driver’s side,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said in a press conference Friday, April 6, as the National Privacy Commission (NPC) conducts its investigation on the impact of Grab’s acquisition of its rival’s operations in Southeast Asia on data privacy.

“Drivers have to manually give consent and say ‘I’m okay to share this data’,” Cu added.

The NPC urged Grab to be transparent on what will happen with the personal data of around 1.2 million Uber account holders and to ensure that these are protected.

“Our intention is neither to hinder any legitimate business exchange, nor prevent the public from using the services of Grab, so long as personal data privacy is respected and protected. The NPC is closely looking into this deal given consumer fears that the company’s dominant market position might lead to possible abuses in how it processes personal data,” NPC chair Raymund Liboro said.

“Transparency, choice, notice, security, redress mechanisms and other data privacy issues should be considered at all stages of the deal,” he added.

One’s name, phone number, email address, and credit card details are part of the information Uber app users register in their accounts.

The NPC urged Grab to implement appropriate organizational, physical, and technical security measures, if the acquisition will involve any personal data processing. Mechanisms to accommodate the public’s privacy concerns relating to the deal should also be present.

“The NPC assures the public that it shall exercise its compliance and monitoring functions to check for any unauthorized processing during the acquisition, especially given that data subjects may have limited capacity to check it themselves,” according to Liboro.

For her part, Lizada said the agency will be coordinating with the NPC and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to ensure the welfare of the riding public during the acquisition.

“LTFRB’s primary concern is the welfare of the riding public. We want to ensure that the service remains. We want to determine that the acquisition are within the parameters set by the NPC and PCC,” according to the LTFRB official.

She likewise urged the PCC to come up with a decision on its review of the merits of the acquisition deal.

“The PCC needs to come up with an order. The soonest possible time this will be resolved, it will be better. On the part of LTFRB, if they want to keep the Uber app running, what will happen to the riding public if there are any concerns?” Lizada said.

The PCC, in its hearing Thursday, asked both Uber and Grab to operate their respective platforms beyond April 8. It wants both ride-sharing companies to operate as separate businesses so as not to prejudice the review of the transaction. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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