New: Dutch Court Finds Uber Falls Short On Algorithmic Transparency


In a recent legal battle, Uber has been found by the Amsterdam District Court to be in violation of European Union algorithmic transparency requirements. The ruling came in response to a legal challenge brought by two drivers who had their accounts terminated by the ride-hailing company, with the use of automated account flags. The drivers argued that they were entitled to information about significant automated decisions made about them.

Key Takeaway

The Amsterdam District Court has ruled that Uber failed to comply with European Union algorithmic transparency requirements in a legal challenge brought by two drivers. The drivers argued that they were entitled to information about significant automated decisions taken about them. The ruling underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the rights of platform workers and the need for transparency in algorithmic decision-making.

The Legal Battle and Ruling

The drivers claimed that Uber’s algorithmic decision-making process, which led to their accounts being flagged and subsequently terminated, violated their rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. The GDPR grants individuals the right not to be subject to solely automated decisions with significant impact and also provides for access to information about such decisions, including the logic and potential consequences.

The court found in favor of two of the drivers, ruling that Uber had not provided any information about the automated flags that triggered account reviews. The judge speculated that Uber might be intentionally withholding information to protect its business and revenue model. However, in the case of the third driver, Uber was deemed to have provided sufficient information regarding the reasons for the account flag.

Uber had sought to rely on trade secrets exemptions to deny drivers access to data about the AI-powered decisions, but the court rejected this argument. The company also argued that providing full details to drivers about how their anti-fraud systems worked would hinder their functionality.

Implications and Response

This ruling adds to the ongoing litigation against Uber in the Netherlands regarding the rights of platform workers and data access. It highlights the need to establish clear boundaries between the information platforms should provide to workers and the protection of anti-fraud systems. The drivers in this case were supported by the Worker Info Exchange (WIE) and the App Drivers & Couriers union.

In response to the ruling, an Uber spokesperson stated that the account reviews were conducted by human teams, following the identification of potentially fraudulent behavior by the company’s systems. The spokesperson emphasized that the ruling was specific to the circumstances of these drivers’ cases.

The drivers’ lawyer, Anton Ekker, expressed his belief that the principle of transparency will ultimately prevail. James Farrar, the director of Worker Info Exchange, criticized Uber for repeatedly flouting the law and defying court orders. He called on governments and regulators to take action in enforcing rules and protecting workers’ rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *