The operation of London-based ride-hailing service Wheely in Moscow, Russia, has been suspended for three months over its refusal to share vehicle geolocation data with the officials, a court ruling declared on Friday.
Since 2017, Moscow’s Department of Transport has asked taxi services hand over data, including cars’ locations and details about drivers. In light of the coronavirus crisis, that demand has been extended for health and safety factors to premium ride-hailing services, which includes Wheely.
Popular among wealthy people of Moscow, Wheely was the only ride-hailing service that failed to adhere to this requirement, on the grounds that it would breach Russian federal legislation on the protection of personal data and enable officials to monitor passengers.
“This was never a legal requirement,” said Anton Chirkunov, the CEO of Wheely, in a statement. “The Department of Transport has attempted to use a misleading decree to get data that no other city has access to, and which we, in accordance with federal law, must protect.”
In response to an earlier Reuters request for comment, the Department of Transport said the requested data is used for analyzing city traffic flows and improve infrastructure. “Taxi passenger information is not requested or transferred.”
Wheely said it would appeal against the court’s decision.