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Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Is Suing Uber

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Margaret J. Krauss
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90.5 WESA
In October 2016, a data breach compromised the drivers license numbers of at least 13,500 Pennsylvania Uber drivers. Pittsburgh is one of four testing sites for the company's self-driving technologies.

Pennsylvania is taking ride-hailing company Uber to court. A lawsuit filed Monday alleges Uber broke two state laws and compromised the identities of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro was one of 43 attorneys general across the country looking into the data breach. Shapiro said he would have preferred to work something out with Uber instead of going to court, but he had no choice.

“We felt that Uber wasn’t serious in the back and forth we had with them,” he said. “We felt that they were trying to stonewall us, and they were trying to stymie our investigation.”

At least 13,500 Uber drivers in Pennsylvania were affected by the October 2016 hack; they were first alerted in November 2017. In an email, an Uber spokesperson said new leadership took a series of steps “to be accountable and respond responsibly.”

Pennsylvanians have a right to know their data is protected when they turn it over to a large company, said Shapiro.

“What is really galling to me is that Uber didn’t notify people in a timely fashion, they actually tried to cover this up for more than a year,” he said. “And as a result of that, we think that they violated two laws in Pennsylvania: our data breach notification law and our unfair trade practices law.”

In an email, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West said he had pledged to state and federal regulators Uber’s cooperation in investigating the data breach since taking the job three months ago.

“I personally reached out to Attorney General Shapiro and his team in the same spirit a few weeks ago. While I was surprised by Pennsylvania’s complaint this morning, I look forward to continuing the dialogue we’ve started as Uber seeks to resolve this matter,” he wrote. “We make no excuses for the previous failure to disclose the data breach...I’ve been up front about the fact that Uber expects to be held accountable; our only ask is that Uber be treated fairly and that any penalty reasonably fit the facts.”

Pennsylvania’s lawsuit seeking damages was filed Monday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.