The popular ride-hailing company Uber reached a $148 million settlement Wednesday afternoon with the 50 states and the District of Columbia for failing to quickly notify drivers that hackers had stolen their personal data, including driver’s license information.
Uber, according to a press release by the office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, learned that hackers had gained access to the information in 2016. While the company obtained assurances that the hackers deleted the information, Uber failed to report the breach to law enforcement or the affected drivers until November 2017, the press release says. The hacking affected about 600,000 drivers nationwide.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia reached the agreement with the San Francisco-based company. Under the settlement agreement, Connecticut’s share of the funds is $4.5 million. Of that amount, $400,000 will be deposited into the state’s Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Fund to support the office’s consumer protection work, and $250,000 will go into the state Department of Consumer Protection’s consumer protection enforcement fund.
Some of the remaining funds will provide each eligible Connecticut Uber driver with a $100 payment. Eligible drivers are those whose driver’s license numbers were accessed during the 2016 breach. About 3,549 drivers in the state were affected, the release said.
“Companies in possession of personal information have a responsibility under Connecticut law to keep that information safe,” Jepsen said in a statement. “When that data is exposed, they have a responsibility to report it within a time period prescribed by law, which Uber clearly and plainly did not do.”
Uber is represented by Adam Schuman and Rebecca Engrav, both with Perkins Coie. Engrav referred all comment to Uber’s press department, which in turn pointed journalists to its website, where Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West post a detailed statement.
“Our current management team’s decision to disclose the incident was not only the right thing to do, it embodies the principles by which we are running our business today: transparency, integrity, and accountability,” the company’s statement read. “An important component of living up to those principles means taking responsibility for past mistakes, learning from them, and moving forward.”
The statement continues: “So I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement with the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to resolve their legal inquiries on this matter. The commitments we’re making in this agreement are in line with our focus on both physical and digital safety for our customers… We know that earning the trust of our customers and the regulators we work with globally is no easy feat. After all, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. We’ll continue to invest in protections to keep our customers and their data safe and secure, and we’re committed to maintaining a constructive and collaborative relationship with governments around the world.”
In addition to the financial settlement, Uber will be required to, among other things, comply with Connecticut’s data breach and consumer protection laws and employ strong password policies for employee access on its network.