MOSCOW: The operation of London-based ride-hailing service Wheely in Moscow was suspended for three months over its refusal to share vehicle geolocation data with the authorities, a court ruling said on Friday.
Since 2017, Moscow's Department of Transport has demanded that taxi services hand over data, including cars' locations and information about drivers. In light of the coronavirus crisis, that demand was extended for health and safety reasons to premium ride-hailing services, such as Wheely.
Popular among wealthy Muscovites, Wheely was the only ride-hailing service that failed to comply with this requirement, on the grounds that it would violate Russian federal legislation on the protection of personal data and allow officials to monitor passengers.
"This was never a legal requirement," Wheely CEO Anton Chirkunov said in a statement. "The Department of Transport has tried 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 a previous Reuters request for comment, the Department of Transport said the requested data is used to analyse city traffic flows and improve infrastructure: "Taxi passenger information is not requested or transferred."
Wheely said it would appeal against the decision.
(Reporting by Nadezhda Tsydenova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Heinrich)