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Ubers 'robo-firing' of drivers focused within the latest European lawsuit

About faces another legal challenge in Europe related to algorithmic decisions.

The Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) app yesterday filed a case with a court in the Netherlands to challenge the company's "robo-firing" practice – also known as the use of automated systems to identify and identify fraudulent activities Termination of drivers on this analysis.

Under EU law, individuals who are solely subject to automated decisions have the right to request human review. Article 22 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives data subjects the right not to be subject to an exclusively automated decision if there are significant legal or similar effects.

The ADCU case alleges that Uber drivers in the UK and Portugal "were wrongly accused of" fraudulent activity "detected by Uber systems before they were released without appeal".

“In each case, the drivers were fired after Uber said its systems had detected fraudulent activity by the data subjects. The drivers absolutely deny they were involved in any fraud and Uber has never made such a complaint to the police. Uber never gave the drivers access to the alleged evidence against them, nor did they give them the opportunity to contest or appeal the decision to terminate, ”read a press release about the action.

A spokeswoman for Uber said the cases of the drivers in question had been checked manually by specialist staff prior to the termination.

However, the ADCU alleges that Uber is using an overly broad definition of “fraud” to undermine its obligations to workers' rights by hiding performance-related grievances and strategically opting out to wait for higher price hikes.

Part of Uber's fraud policy states that "We are constantly looking for fraud by drivers and drivers playing our systems". The text further specifies that some of the behaviors that could cause an Uber driver to disable their account include: “Deliberately increasing the time or distance of a trip; Accepting travel without the intention of taking part, including provoking drivers to cancel; Creating dummy driver or driver accounts for fraudulent purposes; Eligibility for fraudulent charges or levies such as false cleaning fees; and to intentionally accept or conclude fraudulent or falsified trips ”.

The union says Driver 1, who was based in London, was unceremoniously sacked after Uber said their systems detected "irregular journeys related to fraudulent activity" – and received no explanation or appeal.

Driver 2, also based in London, was unceremoniously sacked after Uber claimed its systems had "discovered the installation and use of software designed to tamper with the Driver app". Again it is said that the driver did not receive any further explanation of the allegations and that the right to appeal was denied.

Birmingham-based Driver 3 was also terminated without objection after Uber said its systems had "detected a persistent pattern of misuse of the Uber application … and this resulted in a bad experience for all parties."

A fourth driver based in Lisbon, Portugal, was disabled after Uber claimed its systems had detected "the recurring practice of irregular activity while using the Uber app".

Uber declined to go into detail on the cases of each driver involved in the ADCU challenge, but said there were no new allegations based on the press release – adding that it was based on new information from the courts wait.

“Uber provides requested personal data and information that individuals are entitled to. We will provide explanations if we are unable to provide certain data, e.g. B. if they do not exist or if the disclosure would violate the rights of another person under the GDPR. In this case, as part of our regular processes, the drivers were only deactivated after manual checks by our team of specialists, ”the company said in a statement.

We also asked the company if they manually review all cases of drivers that the algorithm has determined to be involved in fraudulent activity. However, at the time of writing, it hadn't answered the question.

The ADCU is inviting other former Uber drivers from the UK and across the European Economic Area who have also been dismissed for alleged "fraudulent activity" to register on their website to join the collective action they are partially funding through a crowdjustice want campaign.

In July, the union endorsed another challenge to Uber's algorithms – in this case, it focused on using profiling and data-driven algorithms to manage drivers, reiterating GDPR data access rights.

Last month, the union also presented a similar challenge to India-based hail platform Ola.

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