Privacy Issues in Online Ride Service

in Rant, Complain, Talk7 months ago (edited)

As a solo female traveler, there are times when being vigilant and having resting bitch face helps. But nowadays, with our life connected online sometimes we forget that people can infringe our privacy even online.

I am very disappointed with the Grab service that they mention they’d protect our privacy but my experience said otherwise. Just after I finished my ride, the Grab driver contacted me on my whatsapp with a message unrelating to the service. The question is, how do they know my number?


illustration via unsplash

The drivers have something called “Code ethics" which apparently also states that they should never contact the customer/Grab partners/staff for any reason other than Grab service. It is all stated in their Code Ethics page.

I was quite taken aback because I am quite conservative in replying to people and expect people not to contact me unless it’s very urgent. I also only do chit-chat with very selective people. So, a bit of shaking, I immediately reached out to customer service asking how did that happen? Why did the driver contact me unrelated to the service?

The customer service only felt sorry and I don’t think sorry is enough to prevent such an instance from happening again.

Sorry doesn’t fix their privacy issue.

Sorry also doesn’t fix the fact that the customer number is leaked.

I thought they would randomize the number but apparently not.

As a long time customer, I am thoroughly disappointed.

I panicked for a bit which is why this post needs editing. That moment I knew that I needed to change my fake name and also replace the number.

I blocked the driver number and the same was instructed by the customer service. During my reporting, I also provided a screenshot to let them know that my complaint is legitimate.

Just when I thought this would not happen to me, it did. For the last couple of years, they never had this issue or maybe it just wasn't my time yet.

Only today even recently, this seems like an issue. Why is their service declining? privacy or even consent communication don't exist anymore. It just further proof that privacy is rarity these days. In short, there's no privacy as long as it's about profit.

When it comes to ethics, I doubt people read those and just take it very lightly. I don’t know why the company doesn’t take extreme measures on it. I guess as long as they make some profits, customers are the least that they care about.

The message itself isn't extremely harmful or anything. It was just sort of “ can I get to know you? And some other text that to me is creepy. Not to mention, on the way to my destination the driver asked where I was staying, whether I was alone, or if I had family and where I am originating from. Since I know the drill, I obviously do not tell the truth.

This is very important when dealing with strangers in Indonesia.Do not tell the full truth unless you know them. Many Indonesian I know, they often just blurt out a lot of sensitive information. It doesn’t help that the culture in Indonesia is that, people get curious about our personal information. Like in the past, I get the question: what was my religion, who was my mother, what did my parents do. Sure, there’s nothing wrong about talking to each other but the conversation topic isn’t something that many Indonesians are good at picking.


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It have happened also to me with a courier guy, as he delivered one packet to me in the first lockdown, in April 2020! Believe me, it was even worse than this! He left me notes on my motorbike almost day by day for about two weeks! I wasnt sure if it was a prank or a real situation! I learn the hard true when i received a naked photo of him in whatsapp! After that the police undertook to make recommendations to him!

Maybe a qr code system it would be a good solution! I dont know!

What! that's just crazy, did they also know your number from the package? what was the resolution of the case?

This story ended out of court. The Police made recommendations to him, since he committed acts(according to the Greek legal framework), are threats and insults to sexual dignity! The funny thing about this story is, that when he left me the his notes, my wife thought that behind that was some other woman, with whom I had a secret relationship! The revelation of his identity was a double relief for me!

My gosh! This is absurd! Privacy information must be and shall be protected by the company (grab) because leaking a private information of a customer could lead to harm.

As for you miss @macchiata, you did the right thing to contact the help support right away. However, their response is not enough. Thus, it was very creepy to be texted and asked “can I get to know you?” Nah! Auto-blocked.

This has been an issue with other online services in the country. Grab/Shoppe food/ Maxim they do not randomize their customer number. Only Gojek that I know so far randomized their customer number so that the drivers can't contact the customer privately. Gojek learned from their customer complaints because some drivers can be creepy too.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with Grab where the driver and even restaurant owners have access to the customer number. I once was also messaged by a restaurant owner (via grab) asking me why I cancelled the order while it was actually the driver's request as he couldn't find the address. I lashed out and complained to customer service. Now, they improved the part where customers can chat directly to the customer without having to reach out customer's private number.

It was such a strange experience and I hope that driver won't randomly texting their customer like that especially without any consent.

That sounds so creepy, I'd get pissed also if someone would randomly do that. I'm glad that you were vigilant about what that person was doing when he was asking your personal questions. I guess that's the most convenient thing here in the UAE right now, all our phone numbers are linked to the Emirates ID so they can track you.

I hope they'll fix their system and you won't ever experience something like that again.

The numbers that we have are also linked to our national ID here but obviously, people find loophole so that it doesn't attach to them. Imagine if that was happening to a naive customer? if that happened to my mom, I would be quite concerned as she's the type who would answer something from stranger. I also doubt they would fix their problem and it was my last straw that I am switching over to service that cares about my privacy and their customer.

Ohh, okay. I guess that is one system that the Philippines should adopt. They truly know the loops of the system.

That's really true though, I'd get really pissed if that would happen to any of my family member and safety is the number one thing.

May you be able to find a better service that will be able to serve your needs. I hope there's one that would value privacy.

Have a great weekend!


Very unprofessional to leak customer private information! They need to upgrade on the security part. There are other apps intended for dating/romance/friendship purposes.

Doubt they would do that but I am also genuinely wonder how many people received such messages but never actually complain about it. Data leaks isn't something new in the country and they don't care about privacy at all. However Grab itself operates in different countries which also got me wondering if this also happens outside Indonesia. If so, that's just awful.

As far as I'm concerned, it has never happened before to people around me yet.

The problem is you might be too beautiful lol. Just kidding, stay safe out there.

I am definitely not :D but thank you! just reminds me more how I should be more careful.


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That sucks! However, I am glad you took it seriously and contacted them, although their response does seem rather pathetic.
Unfortunately, I am sure it will happen more often than we think, not everyone will be like you and report it.
Keep safe and be on your guard is all I can suggest.
On the plus side, you must be deemed a good catch!

It really sucks and they don't offer any solutions other than saying sorry and telling me to block the person. More people should complain in my opinion as it means that the company has to be responsible for our privacy. Thank you for checking this out!

More people do need to compain, as that is the only way they will actually do something!

Customers privacy should remain a top priority for this company but most times they focus more on profit making than customer care and satisfaction. They really need to improve on that. I am sure other customers might have experienced similar occurrences too

Customer privacy doesn't seem to exist in the country as more and more data breaches and leaks happening. It's a sad state but it is what it is. Eventhough we have tried our best effort to minimize it from happening to us but some things are just out of our control

Exactly. That's correct. We hope they improve on that in the future times

This is making me rethink using my real name for some services because there are a lot of privacy breaches in Nigeria too. It's so common, it seems normal.

Never ever use your real name unless it's federal application. Or if you still want to use your name, pick your middle name or a combination of your name acronym.

Privacy is an important piece of life that’s for sure. It’s brutal that they allowed the driver to contact you, I’m sure you could bring that higher up the food chain there. That’s not cool!

Speaking of apps that invade privacy, you don’t have tick tock on your phone do you? That app is crazy, they access all your phones data and can supposedly access a laptop if it’s on the same network as the phone. Fucked!

I don't have tiktok on my phone and just has essential app to survive modern idiocrazy haha. I hope they changed the system but definitely not going to use them anymore. I just hate how apps are invading our privacy.

Yeah for sure I do too. In the words of James Corbett “data is the new gold” and that’s for sure. It’s all to make money off our data!