Man sues Uber for allegedly ruining his marriage

Commentary: A Frenchman is suing Uber for $48 million, after he claims a technical problem with the app informed his wife of his movements.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Enlarge Image

"He's gone where? Where?!"


For better or for worse.

This famous phrase describes our committed relationship with technology.

We go through bad times. A website won't load, an app keeps crashing. But we stay together, because in each other we see the future.

A businessman from the Côte d'Azur in France, though, believes technology has destroyed his marriage. Specifically, Uber's technology.

As Le Figaro reports, he claims there was a bug in the Uber app, one that enabled others to view his comings and goings. Actually, it was a very significant other, he says, who knew where he'd been -- his wife.

More precisely, his ex-wife. The man claims that he borrowed his then wife's iPhone and logged into the Uber app.

He says that after he logged off, his Uber activity was still relayed via helpful notifications on her phone. One can only surmise that his movements didn't please his wife, as the lawsuit says that she divorced him.

So, to assuage his pain, the man is asking for Uber to pay 45 million euros (around $48 million). The case is expected to receive its first hearing next month.

Uber didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. It did tell Le Figaro, however: "Uber doesn't comment publicly on individual cases, and especially on cases that involve a divorcing couple."

I'm not sure why divorces deserve special consideration. Perhaps Uber is reacting to accusations from rivals that it's a nasty, insensitive company.

Le Figaro reveals that it was able to replicate the hurt man's problem. A second iPhone was sent notifications without a password, it says. It says the bug doesn't, however, give details of your exact destination, nor of real-time geolocation. Indeed, some on Twitter have noticed this issue too.

Of course, technology can lead to all sorts of relationship problems. Lovers sometimes guess passwords, accidentally (or not) see notifications or even discover secret Facebook relationships. Then, there is hell to pay. If you're lucky, purgatory might ensue.

There was an another quirk in the alleged Uber bug. Le Figaro identified the glitch as only occurring on iPhones where the app was updated after December 16 of last year and not at all on Android phones.

Could there be a better reason for meandering, possibly philandering Frenchmen to switch to Android than this, especially with Valentine's Day lurking so closely?

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.