Uber in Hot Water After Exec Talks About Gathering Private Information on Journalists

Uber's threat to snoop on tech journalist Sarah Lacy might not have been an idle one.

Uber was in damage control mode Tuesday after Buzzfeed broke the news Senior Vice President Emil Michael, also an advisor to the Pentagon, suggested the ride-providing giant ought to "dig up dirt" and "spread details" of the personal life" of journalists including Lacy, the PandoDaily editor who has criticized the company.[[283114721, L]]

Reaction to Buzzfeed's report was swift.

Hundreds of people tweeted that they'll no longer use the car service, especially angry that Michael singled out Lacy, who has written critically about Uber in the past.[[283114961, L]]

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted some apologies to the company's customers, shareholders, and to Lacy, who responded by pushing a #DeleteUber campaign on Twitter.

As of midday Tuesday afternoon, Michael remained at his post.

Meanwhile, journalist Ellen Cushing, who wrote a profile of Kalanick and his company for San Francisco Magazine, revealed Monday that she was warned by Uber employees that that company "higher-ups" would likely dig into her rider logs, too.

Cushing wrote she could not confirm whether or not Kalanick or his co-workers were peeking on her.

However, as a former Uber employee reportedly told her via e-mail: The current scandal "doesn't surprise me."

The whole debacle is a bit reminiscent of when Hewlett-Packard, back in 2006, investigated journalists and board members, trying to find the source of a leak.

Attempts by NBC Bay Area to reach Kalanick or Uber for comment were not successful.

Scott Budman contributed to this report.

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