Ola Scooter Is Tracking Every User, Their Driving Behavior & More: Is This Even Legal? User Privacy Violated?

Ola Scooter Is Tracking Every User, Their Driving Behavior & More: Is This Even Legal? User Privacy Violated?
Ola Scooter Is Tracking Every User, Their Driving Behavior & More: Is This Even Legal? User Privacy Violated?

In a latest development in Guwahati, a man purportedly met with an accident due to a fault in the Ola electric scooter that he was riding.

In response to this, the ride-hailing major has claimed that the rider was overspeeding as per its own investigation, in a statement issued on Friday, April 22.

Violation Of Right To Privacy

The statement from the firm has drawn flak from various quarters, with many accusing the company of collecting data without consent and violating the right to privacy. 

This all started when a man, named Balwant Singh from Guwahati, had tweeted on April 15 that his son had met with an accident. 

He said that it was “due to fault in regenerative braking where on a speed breaker, instead of slowing, the scooter accelerated, sending so much torque that he had an accident.”

This tweet thread went viral on social media.

Ola Collecting Data 

In its defense, Ola Electric said that it did a thorough investigation of the accident. 

According to their investigation, “data clearly shows that the rider was overspeeding throughout the night and that he braked in panic, thereby losing control of the vehicle. There was nothing wrong with the vehicle.” 

On March 26, this accident happened when Singh’s son was driving an Ola S1 Pro.

 The scooter went airborne before crashing, as per Singh’s tweet. 

Further, his son was hospitalized on March 26 with a fracture in his left hand and 16 stitches on his right.

In response, Ola Electric posted data received from the e-scooter in real time. 

The data showed that the vehicle’s speed on the night of the accident was between 95 kmph and 115 kmph. 

Further Ola said, “Road safety is of paramount importance to us. We strongly recommend everyone to ride responsibly, adhere to speed limits and ensure you’re wearing a helmet,”. 

While doing so, Ola has released a detailed graph of the speeds at which the vehicle was traveling.

Tracking Riders Data Without Consent?

Notably, many pointed out that Ola Electric was tracking customer data, and alleged that it could be a violation of privacy.

The statement was remarkably poorly thought out by Ola Electric, said Nikhil Pahwa of Medianama on Twitter. 

Further adding, “It seems that they’ve taken not just the right to track customers but also publicly disclose data about customer behavior. If they haven’t taken these rights in their privacy policy then this is a violation of privacy,”.

He said, “This disclosure basically tells customers that Ola doesn’t just track you. It also reserves the right to publish data about your riding behavior and share it with the world. Essentially, they’re doxxing customers, and can do this to anyone. In terms of pure optics, how stupid is Ola’s communication/decision making team? Targeting a customer in public? Who does this? This doesn’t come across as a thought through decision, but a panicky, knee jerk reaction,”.

 “If they wanted to disclose that the customer was speeding at the time that the accident happened, what’s the rationale behind disclosing that the customer was speeding prior to that as well? That’s basically a means to attack the customer’s character,” said Pahwa. 

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