Uber said it always needed permission to gather data in order to track passengers for five minutes after a trip was completed. The company believed this capability could help to ensure customers’ physical safety. Photo: Reuters

INTERNATIONAL - Uber Technologies is pulling a heavily criticised feature from its app that allowed it to track passengers for up to five minutes after a trip, its security chief told Reuters, as the ride-services company tries to fix its poor reputation for customer privacy.

The change, which restores users’ ability to share location data only while using the app, is expected to be rolled out to Apple iPhone users from this week. The adjustment comes as Uber tries to recover from a series of crises culminating in the ouster of chief executive Travis Kalanick and other top executives.

Travel-booking company Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi is set to become Uber’s new chief executive, sources have told Reuters. Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, said the location-tracking update was unrelated to the executive changes. An update to the app made last November eliminated the option for users to limit data gathering to when the app is in use only, instead forcing them to choose between letting Uber always collect location data or never collect it.

Uber said it needed permission always to gather data in order to track passengers for five minutes after a trip was completed, which it believed could help in ensuring customers’ physical safety.