A new bill making its way through the New York City Council would force companies such as Uber East, Grubhub, and DoorDash to share data with the businesses that use them.
“The information would consist of the customer’s name, phone number, e-mail address, delivery address and the contents of their orders…” reads the bill. The bill’s language, however, does add, “Customers would be able to opt out of the sharing of this information, and the service would be required to provide a clear disclosure to customers explaining what information would be shared with the establishment. The establishment fulfilling the customer’s order would be permitted to retain that information, which must be provided in a machine-readable format.”
But that doesn’t matter to some, including companies such as DoorDash, who believe that the initial concept/bill could be dangerous if put in the wrong hands.
The bill has been met with opposition.
A spokesperson for DoorDash stated, through email, that not only is it a violation of privacy, but that building a database of this nature already exists within their product but gives the customer some power. They don’t need the city’s help.
The spokesperson said that restaurants are already benefiting from this.
“DoorDash is committed to empowering restaurants while protecting user data and privacy,” said the spokesperson. “We cannot support efforts to force delivery platforms to share customer data without customer consent and without any protections for that data. Numerous DoorDash products are already designed to provide restaurants with access to customer information to help them build and maintain customer relationships while benefiting from tools and resources to grow their business.”
The spokesperson also said that they sent letters out to the customers last week about the legislation and have gotten 5,400 people to write to their council members in expressing their anger over the bill.
Sharing data could affect several populations within the five boroughs. Two of them are the Black and Latino communities. In a joint letter, the National Action Network, the New York Urban League and Arc of Justice said that the one-page bill needs more details, needs input from New Yorkers and needs to prove that they won’t be put in danger.
“This lack of detail should frighten all New Yorkers; however, it is particularly concerning for communities of color, vulnerable populations and undocumented immigrants who use these apps,” read the letter. “Their safety could be in danger if this bill proceeds in its current form. This is obviously not legislators’ intent, but it highlights that more work should be done to strengthen this bill before it is voted on.
“In the last week alone, privacy groups and advocacy organizations have detailed their concerns with the bill and their voices should be heard and suggestions adopted,” the letter continued. “It would be wrong for the City Council to rush to a vote before this bill is fixed—doing so could result in unintended harmful consequences.”
Opponents of the bill want several questions addressed: How will this information be protected? What happens if there’s a data breach? How would you respond to those who call this legislation a violation of their privacy?
For those who are in favor of the new legislation, the NYC Hospitality Alliance believes that this legislation would eliminate the middlemen and provide a better relationship between restaurant and customer. They call the threats of privacy violations propaganda.
“Certain billion-dollar third-party delivery companies have a long history of exploiting local restaurants and misleading the public in order to win their political battles, and them making this an issue about privacy is just one more example of that behavior,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance. “This law would simply allow restaurants and their customers to share a direct relationship instead of having mega-sided delivery companies be the gatekeepers and control the marketplace, often at everyone else’s expense.”
The AmNews attempted to contact New York City Council Members Ben Kallos, Diana Ayala, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Mark Gjonaj and Keith Powers (the bill’s prime sponsor) through email and phone calls. One council member directed the AmNews to another for comment and that council member directed the AmNews to another one for comment.
As of press time, we’re still waiting on an answer.