… but I’m guessing I probably signed away any number of rights when I signed up to drive with them. So it maybe wasn’t illegal. And due to the technology involved, it might not have been technically wiretapping.
Here’s what happened. On my way to pick up a Lyft rider, the rider sent me a text message asking how close I was to arriving. Within a couple of seconds there was a reply to the text message, but not from me. The message said (as closely as I can recall), “Hello from Lyft. Please do not send text messages to our drivers when they are on the road driving. Thank you.”
And my first thought was, hey that’s pretty cool, Lyft has got my back and will step in to protect me from hassles and from feeling pressured to do dangerous things like texting while still driving.
And my second thought was, HOW did they do this? What else might they be monitoring? Do they have the right to intercept all incoming calls or texts on MY phone (I own it and pay for the phone service)? Can they only do this while I am logged in as a driver on their app? What if someone else texts me (my favorite hooker or coke dealer, for example) while I’m signed in? They certainly wouldn’t know that I was “on duty” so to speak, and would have an expectation of privacy.
My next thoughts were related to the second. What are the nuts and bolts of how it works? Perhaps the passenger Lyft app on his phone and mine on my phone talk directly to each other, something I hadn’t considered before. All I know for sure is that the job requires me to have a smart phone with phone and data services both. Is intercepting a text message a crime like intercepting a phone call? Is it even intercepting it at all? It seems very possible that the message is generated, sent via and received by their own software, and that doesn’t seem like an “interception.”
Can any of you shed light on how this tech works?
I would also like to recruit a volunteer for a little experimenting. I would like to arrange for someone without the Lyft rider software on their phone to text me under essentially the same circumstances of the message that was sent today. If Lyft doesn’t intervene to try stopping the testing, that suggests that our exchanges are handled by their software rather than the normal channels that a normal phone would use.
Any volunteers? This is not going to happen tonight as I’m already done driving, but probably some evening later this week.