Like everywhere around the world, Taiwan is also one of the significant markets for ride-sharing, and one of the most prominent players in the Taiwanese ride-sharing space is iRent. It is worth noting that the concept of ride-sharing is also beneficial from the environmental point of view because if people share their rides while going to the same place, pollution decreases. One thing ride-sharing companies, more than others, need to take care of is the privacy and data of their customers. As reported by TechCrunch, this is precisely what the Taiwanese ride-sharing giant iRent failed to do.
TechCrunch reported that iRent was revealing its customers’ confidential information on the Open Web, which was going on for months. This has prompted the Taiwanese authorities to take action against iRent; surely enough, they have fined the company for this colossal error. According to local reports, Taiwan’s iRent has been fined NT$200,000 for violating the country’s data protection rules. It is worth noting that iRent, which Taiwanese conglomerate Hotai Motors owns, currently has more than 400,000 customers, and the company failed to protect the data of most of its customers.
Apart from the fine from the Taiwanese government, iRent was also fined by Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei’s government, with a fine of NT$90,000 for the same data protection violation and for being unable to “fulfill its management responsibilities”. The company says that the circumstances are “serious” and promised a fix for this very soon.
The Taiwanese government has also said that if the data leak continues, there will be even more fines imposed on the company. TechCrunch reports that the data, found on Open Web by Security Researcher Anurag Sen, was without a password and contained information such as full names, cell phone numbers, email, and home addresses, as well as partial credit card numbers.
The worst part about this database was that it was updated in real-time as new customers were added. It also contained confidential information such as signatures, selfies, and rental vehicle details. Taiwan’s vice premier, Cheng Wen-tsan, said that the fine was “too light” and that they are working on increasing fines ten-fold for private companies exposing sensitive data.