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Uber agrees to $148M settlement with Pa., other states over data breach

Written by Staff Report/WITF and The Associated Press | Sep 26, 2018 12:26 PM
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FILE PHOTO: In this July 15, 2015 file photo, an Uber driver sits in his car near the San Francisco International Airport. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(Chicago) -- Uber has agreed to pay $148 million and take steps to tighten data security, after the ride-hailing company failed for a year to notify drivers that hackers had stolen their personal information.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the settlement Wednesday between Uber Technologies Inc. and all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Uber learned in November 2016 that hackers had accessed personal data, including driver's license information, for roughly 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S.

The company acknowledged the breach in November 2017, saying it paid $100,000 in ransom for the stolen information to be destroyed.

The states sued Uber, saying the company violated laws requiring it to promptly notify people affected by the breach.

Madigan says "Companies cannot hide when they break the law."

In Pennsylvania, the state Attorney General's office will receive $5.7 million. Uber will also be required to take steps to change its corporate practices to better protect and secure its employees' information and other data.

"The more personal information these criminals gain access to, the more vulnerable the person whose information was stolen becomes," Attorney General Shapiro said. "That's why my Bureau of Consumer Protection took action, and it is why we are also continuing to lead an ongoing national investigation into the Equifax breach."

At least 13,500 Pennsylvania Uber drivers were affected by the breach. Each one who was impacted will receive a $100 payment. 

"Being an Uber driver was a part-time job to me, a way to make some extra money," said Chris Davis, a former attorney and pastor in Centre County. "When I found out about the breach, I was angry and mad they hid it so long. I discovered inquiries had been made into my credit in the western United States - places I had never been. I worked hard for what I have and did not want scammers to be able to take my money and property."

The remainder of the settlement for the commonealth - $4.35 million - will go to the Attorney General's Public Protection Section and Bureau of Consumer Protection.

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