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Uber’s Beef With L.A. Is Bigger Than Data

The ride-hailing giant is convinced that L.A.’s data-tracking tool is violating state privacy laws. But the stakes for its business go further.
Uber isn't just a ride-hailing company: It's a player in the micromobility market, thanks to its ownership of Jump.
Uber isn't just a ride-hailing company: It's a player in the micromobility market, thanks to its ownership of Jump. Gregory Bull/AP

The great scooter data wars of Los Angeles have officially begun. After months of skirmishing with the L.A. Department of Transportation over its collection of real-time trip data from dockless scooters and bikes, Uber filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order against the city agency on Monday.

Now an ongoing fight between the on-demand ride giant and LADOT’s pioneering mobility regulations is heading towards court. But while Uber’s combative stance is based on privacy concerns with L.A., it also reflects the threat these requirements could pose to its business model.