- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Troubled ride-sharing giant Uber faces growing pressure from Capitol Hill to explain why it paid a $100,000 ransom to cover up a hack last year that exposed the personal information of about 57 million riders and drivers.

The problem grew worse with news stories that at least 800 British and U.S. Uber customers were recently billed for rides they never took in Moscow and St. Petersburg, leading investigators to believe a Russian hand was involved in the cyber operation.

The Senate Intelligence Committee this week ratcheted up the rhetoric against Silicon Valley-based Uber, asking why its executives failed to come forward sooner about the massive breach and payoff, which occurred late last year.

In a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner wrote that the firm needed to provide details about the cyber ransom. “It appears the motivation behind this payment was principally to prevent the public or authorities from learning of the breach,” Mr. Warner wrote.

The Virginia Democrat, considered one of Congress’ more tech-savvy members, led last month’s Senate Intelligence Committee Russia probe’s questioning of Google, Facebook and Twitter and their inability to stop a massive wave of Kremlin-backed propaganda during last year’s election.

He also pressed Uber officials for details into their negotiations with the hacker, in particular, whether Uber actually received confirmation that the stolen data was deleted.

Reportedly, Uber’s payment negotiation with the hackers included a non-disclosure agreement which Mr. Warner pointed out “thwarts law enforcement’s ability to bring criminal hackers to justice.”

Lawmakers on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee said they want to Uber officials to testify about the breach.

“We expect to have a hearing on that in the not-too-distant future,” Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, told reporters Tuesday.

Mr. Thune and fellow Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Jerry Moran of Kansas wrote Mr. Khosrowshahi demanding more information by Dec. 1.

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