The digital transformation of the economy and on-demand platforms based on digital technology have created jobs and employment forms that are differentiated from existing offline transactions by the level of accessibility, convenience, and price competitiveness. Although “work” usually describes a full-time paid job, this definition began to change with emerging economic conditions and continued technological advances. This economic change created a new labor force characterized by independent and contractual labor, called the gig economy.
Although the term “gig” was coined by jazz musicians in the 1900s, the gig economy took off in 2008, when millions of workers displaced during the recession took on part-time jobs, and apps like Airbnb and Uber began their meteoric rise.
Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become synonymous with the gig economy. The companies’ names have been transformed into verbs, just like Google is now a verb. Having cars and drivers that are readily available, along with user-friendly apps and various ride and pricing choices, is a perfect fusion of technology and transportation.
Ridesharing Services Data Collection
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become more popular than traditional taxis due to their convenient features. These include prompt confirmation of ride requests, lower rates, and a diverse range of cars, as their drivers use their own vehicles.
To function, these services rely on GPS-enabled smartphones to determine the whereabouts of both drivers and passengers. However, if the user doesn’t restrict location access, the app could continue to collect information on their location, movements, and duration of stay. Additionally, many of these services require users to link their social media accounts to verify their identity, which grants access to personal information. Furthermore, these services are cashless and require users to store a valid credit card in their accounts.
Privacy And Data Protection Concerns
Consumers are willing to provide personally identifiable information (PII) to apps to gain access to tailored recommendations, fast service delivery, and rapid payment methods. However, they place their faith in the app providers to safeguard this delicate data, a trust that may be sorely misplaced.
It is, unfortunately, true that certain companies, including Uber and Lyft, have struggled to establish strong data privacy and security protocols. Recent events, like Uber’s data breach, underscore the importance of implementing comprehensive measures to safeguard sensitive information. While these companies have made efforts to improve their practices, more work remains to be done to ensure that user data is protected from unauthorized access or misuse.
Moving Ahead With Privacy And Data Protection
In today’s technologically advanced world, where data is the new currency, both consumers and developers must prioritize data collection, privacy, and protection. With all our personal information being stored by companies in one place, the shift has been made from bank robberies to data breaches. This has highlighted the need for stringent data privacy and security programs to ensure the safety of sensitive information.
Gig economy companies have learned from past experiences and the media fallout. Uber and Lyft, for instance, have put in place comprehensive data privacy and security programs. These programs outline how data is collected, managed, stored, accessed, and secured. To ensure maximum protection, data is usually encrypted on devices, in transit, and when at rest in files and databases. This has gone a long way in creating transparency about practices and building consumer and partner trust. However, it is not enough.
All gig economy companies must adopt better risk management and data protection practices that are automatically enforced when data is used. Even though new security tools and techniques have been implemented, the reality is that the data in use by gig companies is still vulnerable. This is particularly true for apps that facilitate real-time connections between consumers and service providers, such as ridesharing and food delivery apps. These apps require analyzing vast amounts of personal data to provide the real-time services that customers demand. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that data protection and risk management practices are continuously evolving and adapting to the changing landscape of the gig economy.
To safeguard their customers, partners, and profits from the constant barrage of cyberattacks, companies must prioritize the protection of their data-in-use. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) achieves this by analyzing data content, such as credit card information, social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information (PII), through data classification. Advanced DLP systems will even examine file metadata to consider factors such as the data’s creator, who has access to it, and where it is coming from or going to assess the risk associated with data exposure.