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More California Cities Could Start Collecting Ride Data From Bike And E-scooter Companies

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Jack Handlery rides a motorized scooter in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Adrian An loves zipping through downtown Sacramento on electric scooters. But sharing data with the city about his rides? That’s a different story.

“They [might] be tracking where I’m at all the time. I don’t know, it’s like an invasion of privacy,” he said.

Some cities — like Sacramento and Los Angeles — already plan to collect this information. The proposal in Los Angeles sparked controversy about the data collection amounting to government surveillance. But city officials say the data can’t be traced to individual riders.

An Assembly bill could expand this practice of ride data collection. Under the proposal, cities could require companies to hand o­­­­­ver ride data if they want to do business there.

The proposal has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In response, the bill was recently amended: Cities could request only aggregate data that has been scrubbed of identifying information.

Bill Romanelli, a shared bike user in Sacramento, says the proposal doesn’t bother him.

“I think if it’s data that helps cities increase mobility and reduce traffic and help people get from A to B, then I don’t have a negative feeling about that,” Romanelli said.

The bill awaits a vote on the Assembly floor.

Scott Rodd

State Government Reporter

Scott Rodd previously covered government and legal affairs for the Sacramento Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Scott worked as a freelance reporter in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  Read Full Bio 

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