Ola faces legal challenge over data access rights

Two ride-hailing drivers are taking India-based ride-sharing app firm Ola to court in the Netherlands over a dispute involving the algorithmic management of gig workers and data access rights handling.

The latest case bears similarities to the one filed against Uber in July.

In both cases, the drivers are looking for their data to be used for the purpose of collective bargaining.

To that end, they want it to be ported to their union’s data trust.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) plays a strong role in both of these cases.

Uber claims that its hands are tied due to the European privacy law.

According to the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), the drivers only received partial data, an example of which is not receiving date-stamped GPS data.

Due to Ola blocking ratings data at the trip level, the drivers are unable to challenge ratings that are discriminatory or unfair.

Not being able to meaningfully analyse their own performance due to “huge gaps” in the data is another argument presented by the drivers.

Ola also faces scrutiny in regard to its data protection policy.

Allegedly, it imposes a high level of driver surveillance.

At the same time, it infringes on basic worker rights as it classifies them as self-employed.

According to an ADCU spokesperson, a dispatch decision is based on the driver’s performance factors.

In Europe, other gig platforms are facing legal challenges over worker classification.

In Ola’s case, the plaintiffs argue that practices such as using machine learning and artificial intelligence for analysing millions of data points call for clearer transparency, given that they directly impact the earning potential of drivers.

One case involved a driver having his pay docked due to trips that were supposedly invalid, even though they were legitimate.

Under GDPR Article 22, drivers have the right to contest automated decision-making.

The ADCU is demanding that the drivers be granted access to their data.