The New York Times has a lengthy piece detailing Uber’s attempts to confuse the Apple engineers tasked with reviewing mobile apps for the App Store. According to the report, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick hoped “Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.” But Apple CEO Tim Cook called Kalanick into his office for a meeting in 2015 and told him to stop the practice or Uber would be kicked out of the App Store.
Uber responded to the article by telling The Verge:
“We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”