EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber data breach cover-up next week

EU privacy regulators will discuss ride-hailing app Uber's massive data breach cover-up next week and may call for the creation of a task-force to coordinate investigations.

The ride-hailing app faces regulatory scrutiny after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company covered up a data breach last year that exposed personal data from around 57 million accounts.

The chair of the group of European data protection authorities, called the Article 29 Working Party, said yesterday that the data breach would be discussed at its meeting on 28 and 29 November.

While EU data protection authorities cannot impose joint sanctions, they can set up task-forces to coordinate national investigations.

With a new EU data protection law set to come into force next May, regulators would have the power to impose much higher fines up to 4 per cent of global turnover, and coordinate more closely.

Uber paid hackers $100,000 to keep the massive breach a secret.

According to Khosrowashahi, the stolen information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of Uber users around the world, and the names and license numbers of 600,000 US drivers.

''We cannot but voice our strong concern for the breach suffered by Uber, which was reported belatedly by the US company. We initiated our inquiries and are gathering all the information that can help us assess the scope of the data breach and take the appropriate steps to protect any Italian citizens involved,'' said Antonello Soro, president of the Italian Data Protection Authority on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Uber Technologies Inc said yesterday that it discussed a massive data breach with potential investor SoftBank Group Corp ahead of going public with details of the incident on Tuesday.

Softbank is looking to pick up a 14 per cent stake in Uber mostly by buying out existing shareholders.

''We informed SoftBank that we were investigating a data breach, consistent with our duty to disclose to a potential investor, even though our information at the time was preliminary and incomplete,'' Uber said in a statement.