Alexandru Iftimie, a Romanian national who has been driving for Uber in the U.K. for seven years, found himself on the verge of being fired by the ride-sharing company during the pandemic.
He received warnings of “fraudulent activity” detected by Uber’s systems, despite his claims of not having done anything wrong. When he called Uber’s driver support line to ask for an explanation, he found it difficult to get an unequivocal response from the operator.
Iftimie was later flagged as fraudulent a second time, and fearing for his sole source of income, he contacted his union, the App Drivers and Couriers Union, for assistance. They helped him obtain data from Uber, but the information he received provided little insight into the reasons behind his deactivation.
With the assistance of the Worker Info Exchange, he and other drivers involved in the case took Uber to the court of appeal in Amsterdam. The court ruled that Uber should provide more information about the way automated decisions were made regarding Mr. Iftimie and other drivers in the UK and Portugal. The court case was eventually settled when Uber apologized and admitted it had made a mistake.
Mr. Iftimie hopes that the ruling will encourage others to challenge automated management decisions that threaten their livelihoods. However, campaigners have expressed concerns that pending legislation in the UK parliament may weaken data protection rights.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheGuardian.