EFF, ACLU File Lawsuit to Stop Los Angeles From Collecting Real-Time Tracking Data on Citizens’ Rental Scooters

Los Angeles—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today joined the ACLU of northern and southern California in filing a lawsuit against Los Angeles for collecting detailed trip data and real-time locations and routes of the electric scooters thousands of residents use each day.

EFF, ACLU-Northern California, ACLU-Southern California, and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP are representing scooter riders Eric Alejo and Justin Sanchez in a case seeking a court order halting a requirement by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) that operators of dockless vehicles like JUMP, Lyft, and Lime, collect and turn over to the city information about every single scooter trip taken within city limits. The data collected includes real-time and historical, minute-by-minute information about where and what time every ride was started, and where and what time each ride ended.

Los Angeles is collecting this data using a software tool it developed with an outside vendor called Mobility Data Specification, which gathers location data through Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers on scooters. MDS doesn’t capture the identify of riders directly, but collects with precision riders’ location, routes, and destinations to within a few feet, which can easily be used to reveal the identities of riders.