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Uber Is Under Investigation By Multiple States Over a 2016 Data Breach

Yesterday, it was reported that Uber concealed a massive cyberattack that exposed 57 million people’s data. Recode reports that at least five states — Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Connecticut — would investigate the matter. From the report: Meanwhile, Uber must contend with the possible threat of a new probe at the Federal Trade Commission. The agency, which acts as the U.S. government’s top privacy and security watchdog, penalized Uber for its privacy and security practices just this August. But it may not have known that Uber had suffered a major security breach in 2016, even as they investigated the company at the same time for other, unrelated security missteps. For now, the agency merely said it’s “closely evaluating the serious issues raised.” And some affected customers are similarly taking action. On Wednesday — hours after the breach became public — an Uber user filed a lawsuit accusing the company of negligence and deceptive business practices. The plaintiff, Alejandro Flores, is seeking to represent a class of affected riders and drivers alike.

For one thing, 48 states maintain some version of a law that requires companies that suffer a data breach to communicate what happened to consumers. In most cases, companies must disclose a security incident if hackers steal very sensitive customer data — such as driver’s license numbers, which happened with Uber in late 2016. To that end, the attorneys general in Illinois, Connecticut and New York have said they are probing the breach at Uber — perhaps with an eye on whether the company skirted state laws. The top prosecutors in other major states, like Pennsylvania and Florida, did not immediately respond to emails on Wednesday seeking comment. California’s AG declined to comment.


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