Uber has more tracking power than the police


App-based ride sharing company Uber uses more sophisticated technology to track its customers' location than what is available to the police, the Metropolitan police commissioner has claimed.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Britain's highest-ranking police officer, said that the taxi company could use GPS technology to track its customers in real-time when responding to ride requests, something the police are not allowed to do.

Speaking to Radio Times, Sir Bernard said: "When people ring the police, we haven't got a clue where that phone is."

However, in emergency situations, such as when someone's life is at risk, police can make an application to use real-time GPS data.

The UK's police forces made 730,000 requests for communications data between 2012 and 2014, with around 96 per cent of applications being approved, according to new figures released by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.

The data is used across a wide range of investigations, ranging from terrorism offences to finding missing people, Richard Berry, assistant chief constable of Gloucestershire police told The Times.

Uber's upper hand in its use of technology comes from a customer's agreement for their location data to be shared when they install the application on their smartphone.

The company has proved controversial since being founded in 2009. Traditional taxi drivers in cities across the globe have protested against it, due to its lack of regulations, while the Indian capital Delhi has banned the service altogether, after a number of high-profile cases of assaults by drivers on female passengers.

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