Written Answer to a Question: Discriminatory practices by UBER

Joint answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission to a question (Rule 130) by Kosma Złotowski (ECR) and Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR)  regarding “Discriminatory practices by UBER.”

Joint answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission
Written questions: E-001673/17 , P-001840/17

The Commission has always supported in principle the development of new and innovative mobility services with the purpose of increasing transparency and choice and reduce costs for consumers.

The Commission does not have information related to the data-gathering tool known as ”‘reyball’ beyond what press reports have written. The Commission cannot therefore assess whether there may be any concerns under EC law nor confirm at this stage whether it is planning to launch a formal investigation into the legality of the tool.

More in general, there is currently no plan to revise the guidelines on the collaborative economy adopted last year(1). The Commission, however, will continue to monitor developments related to the collaborative economy, as announced in its communication on the Collaborative economy of June 2016.

Processing of personal data must comply with relevant legislation, including the current Directive 96/46/EC(2). The General Data Protection Regulation(3), which will be applicable from 25 May 2018, modernises data protection rules. Without prejudice to the powers of the European Commission as guardian of the Treaties, the supervision and enforcement of data protection rules falls under the competence of the national data protection supervisory authorities, and courts.

(1) COM(2016) 0356 final

(2) Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data

(3) Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)


Question for written answer P-001840/2017
to the Commission
Rule 130
Kosma Złotowski (ECR) and Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR)

Subject: Discriminatory practices by UBER

According to press reports, UBER has been using the ‘Greyball’ computer programme, the purpose of which is to identify and deceive public officials monitoring compliance with the law on the markets and for which the provision of services by UBER has been challenged or prohibited. Whenever the programme identifies a user as a public official, the application secretly turns down the request for a ride and shows a false picture of UBER drivers’ activity, thereby preventing the official from checking them and possibly imposing a fine for failing to comply with the rules on transport activities.

1. Does the Commission consider this practice to be in compliance with EU law and in particular with competition law and the consumer protection law?

2. What is the Commission’s view of practices which enable a company active in the collaborative economy to refuse to provide a service without clearly informing the client of this and without providing a reason?

3. Does the Commission have any information on the use of the ‘Greyball’ programme in the Member States, and if so, does it plan to take formal action for the violation of EU law by UBER?

View the question and answer on the European Parliament’s website

Source: European Parliament

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