Rental bikes as data hunters

2 min
Tags: Bikes Rental bikes rental data hunters personal data Credit System transmitter

Rental bikes as data hunters

Nowadays, there are very many providers who offer their bike rental especially in cities. Even providers from Asia are represented. Because there are so many bike rental companies, the question now arises as to whether there might be something else behind it. The loudest accusation relates to the collection of data. In order to be able to rent such a bike as a customer, a procedure for registration is necessary. During this registration, a lot of data is requested for registration. Allegedly, the price for the rental bike is all the lower for it. Some providers, however, very well require a proper deposit as a deposit - in addition, then the personal data.

A credit system like in China

Again and again, the ecological aspect is brought to the fore when these rental bikes are made available as a means of transport. By the way, the data collection works directly via the smartphone. This is necessary to download the app and register. This is exactly where the data is collected accordingly and then processed further or even sold and used elsewhere.

Many of these apps from the area of bicycle rental also require other data in addition to the name, such as from the credit card or EC card. These must be submitted for the payment process and the rental. In addition, the GPS data and movement data of the user are also collected. If you like, you can even share the experience with friends online. The system even stores behavioral data. Many providers offer what is known as a credit system. If the user behaves positively, "credits" are awarded. The opposite is also true in the case of various damages or parking in violation of traffic regulations. In the worst case, the account can then also be blocked.

An additional waste problem in the cities

Because so many cheap bicycles are offered as rental bikes from the Far East, however, there is now a real garbage problem. Data protection apparently doesn't play a role either. Often, the rental bikes are not properly maintained after use, so that the chain breaks or the tire is flat. Then, at the latest, the rental bike becomes a garbage problem. The situation seems similar to that in China.

Each bike is equipped with a GPS transmitter. This makes monitoring even easier. In short stages, the data is transmitted directly over the network. This includes, for example, the following:

  • Cyclist behavior
  • Speed
  • Route

Data is publicly posted on the web

The operator therefore knows exactly what happens when and where with the bike and who has ridden it. Subsequently, the usage data is merged so that the profile can be created. The worst part is that these collected data and profiles are even published visibly on the Internet.

The following data can be affected:

  • Phone number
  • Account information
  • Friends
  • Addresses
  • Photos

The trade supervision has been severely neglected so far. Normally, a trade must be registered for bicycle rental. Subsequently, the responsible trade supervisory authority checks the entire procedure. Obviously, there were corresponding approvals. However, it remains to be seen whether or not a really thorough check was carried out. Now the consumer centers and the data protection supervisory authorities are called upon.