What's the Relationship Between Uber and Apple?

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(Brandon Bhangoo) #1

A forgotten story of a major tech company and its secret affair with Uber. Apple iPhone iOS has a feature called "entitlement." This feature is part of the iOS code and is found on every iPhone and iOS mobile device. Basically "entitlement" is a function that enables Apple to access every iOS mobile device and read the phones information. In other words, a backdoor to bypass confidential information.

Now, for Apple that's OK, it is a feature that is only activated when the iOS user allows Apple to access the device for technological usage reasons, although one wonders why the privacy aspect never came up. Why is this important to Uber? It's important because Uber is the only third-party company in the entire world! That has access to this feature as part of an agreement between Apple and Uber when Uber wanted access to their app due to technological reasons back in 2015 when the earlier versions of Apple Watch could not handle the advanced features of the Uber map.

What is so important to raise this issue today?

The Apple Watch no longer needs the entitlement feature, but for some reason, Uber and Apple have not canceled this function. So, all iPhone and iOS mobile devices give Uber access to the users personal information, secretly.

You would think that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi would have removed this blatant method of invasion as part of his "cleaning up" act in Uber, but as far as I know, the feature is still in place and Uber can still access our private information.

Let's have a look at the importance of "entitlement." Every Apple iOS device has an interface within its code that uses integration software with names starting with "com.apple.private," These bits of code are so sensitive that Apple will ban a third party app that integrates them into their code. When you check out Uber's app, you find the following bit of code embedded into it; "com.apple.private.allow-explicit-graphics-priority."

Why is this particular code so sensitive? Because it enables Uber to capture iOS screens no matter what app is running at the time. So basically, as a driver or a customer of Uber who have installed the Uber app on their iOS mobile device, Uber can record any screen, including and not only bank accounts, messaging, credit cards and, well, anything and everything that is on the screen at the time of the capture.

While Apple did give Uber permission when the Apple Watch could not handle the map, it seems rather peculiar that after so many issues with Uber, including the famous 2016 hack and the current Waymo case, you would think that Apple would have demanded, or Khosrowshahi, would have removed the code from the Uber app. This also comes after Apple invited previous CEO Travis Kalanick to a dressing-down at Apple HQ, when they found out that he was using the Apple code to track users illegally. This was a few weeks before the Apple Watch was introduced, and where Uber was an integral part of the Apple Watch launch.

Apple is now an investor in Uber through their holdings in Didi, where Uber also has a percentage, and Didi has stock in Uber. Yes, it sounds complicated, but essentially all the rideshare companies are related in one way or another, just like the European Royal Families.

Back to the Uber Apple, it's still there, it's still operational, and no one knows which Uber employee is using it to get private and confidential information from the millions of Uber app users around the world!


Uber, Apple and You--How Uber is Getting Special Access on iPhone
(Steve Mann) #2

Guess what, it doesn’t surprise me. You have got two money guzzling giants making a deal to make more money through identity theft shakedowns. Doesn’t surprise me, just like Google has the NSA and CIA as partners, Apple and Uber will be another great intelligence community force to contend with.


(Andrew Martin) #3

Steve, you might be right, but I think in this issue, Apple has no intentions. Uber is the bad guy, and maybe Dara will erase the code. It just goes to show how vulnerable we all are using our smartphones. Basically, Uber is just one company with access to our data, think of all the others.


(Brandon Bhangoo) #4

I think Uber can do the same thing on Android, but without any special permission from Google. Basically, Uber driver app can track you 24/7, even when the app is not on.


(Andrew Martin) #5

Its not just about tracking, its about being able to take a copy of your screen. This means that when you are surfing the internet and browsing your bank account, Uber can take a picture of your details. They can capture a screen shot when you open up your username and password page in the Apple accounts page . Basically, by employing a one second screen shot bot, they can capture every screen you look at daily. Imagine the amount of information that can be stolen! However, Uber is not the problem, what happens if someone manages to hack into the app system to access that code? That means a hacker can get all the info through the apple code in the Uber app.


(Bick Bhangoo) #6

The expectation of privacy has disappeared a long time ago. It dates back to the pre-iPhone era. We allowed websites to drop cookies on our PCs and Macs that could track everything we did. Now, apps are not any different–even better than tracking cookies to track and predict what we are about to do on, and offline.


(Andrew Martin) #7

I agree with you. Privacy is a thing of the past. All smartphones and PC’s that come with cameras and built in microphones are hackable.