RAINN Files Appeal to Protect Survivors’ Rights in California Public Utilities Commission Action Against Uber





JANUARY 11, 2021





RAINN Files Appeal to Protect Survivors’ Rights in California Public Utilities Commission Action Against Uber

Washington, D.C. — Survivors of sexual violence deserve the right to determine when, how, and with whom they share their personal information. A recent decision to penalize Uber for not providing survivors’ personal information to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) threatens that right to privacy. That is why, today, RAINN filed an appeal urging the CPUC not to adopt the Presiding Officer’s Decision, which will have a devastating effect on survivors’ agency and right to privacy, and on companies’ willingness to undertake the important work to prevent sexual violence.

In December 2019, the CPUC ordered Uber to provide individualized information from its U.S. Safety Report about every incident of sexual misconduct and sexual assault that occurred in California from 2017 through 2019, without the consent of the survivors impacted.

RAINN last year attempted to dissuade the Commission from this action because a survivor’s information should only be utilized for the purpose for which it was collected. In this case, survivors made the decision to share their experiences with Uber. It is hard to imagine that survivors reporting incidents to Uber envisioned that a state utility regulator would require the disclosure of their personal information, particularly when some may have explicitly decided not to share their experience and information with law enforcement. It’s even harder to imagine that survivors had any idea that they might be contacted by employees of that regulatory agency to discuss one of the most horrific experiences of their lives.

Now, an Administrative Law Judge has fined Uber for noncompliance while, at the same time, changing its direction and allowing them to submit anonymized data, a solution Uber had proposed at the outset. The judge effectively fined the company for every day that it stood up for survivors and protected their privacy rights. Companies should be rewarded, not penalized, for their work to shine a light on the societal pervasiveness of sexual violence and for their commitment to honor survivors’ agency in determining when, how, and with whom they share their personal information and experiences.

RAINN respects the Commission’s efforts to ensure safety for the people of California, and we are grateful for their work. But we urge the CPUC to stand for survivors by rejecting the recent decision against Uber and ensuring that no one at the Commission ever asks for individual, identifying survivor information without the informed consent of the survivor.

Read the appeal.



RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, educate the public, help organizations improve their sexual assault prevention and response programs, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, free, confidential help is available 24/7 by calling 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visiting online.rainn.org.



Contact: Erinn Robinson

Press Secretary


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