Two UK-based Uber drivers, with the help of the App Drivers and Couriers, have launched a legal challenge against Uber to find out how the platform’s algorithms distribute work,media reported. The union said it wanted to make Uber more transparent by finding out whether it discriminated against or treated it unequally in any way. The move would also make it easier for unions to organise workers for better working conditions and pay, which is not currently possible, the Guardian reported.
The case will be heard in the District Court in Amsterdam today, where Uber’s European arm is located. The allegations against Uber are understood to include labeling driver misconduct, incidents with police, lateness and misses of ETA, and unprofessional behaviour. Drivers complain that they can’t see the data or know if it will affect them because of the opacity of the algorithm. Through this legal challenge, they want to find out how this process affects them and the driving scores.
“It’s about the distribution of power,” said Anton Ekker, a privacy lawyer who led the case. It’s about Uber exercising control over data and automated decisions and how it blocks access to that data. The app determines millions of times a day who will get what kind of ride experience: who can enjoy the ride and who makes excursions. But it’s not just about Uber. Problems are everywhere. Algorithms and data give people a lot of control, but those at their disposal tend to be less aware of it. “
Two drivers, Azeem Hanif and Alfie Wellcoat, said they had asked Uber to provide their driver details, but the company did not. The two drivers claimed that the behaviour was a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The consequences of the lawsuit could be significant because it could open up effective unions for online drivers, even though they are self-employed.