It’s difficult to write a headline like that and not get some serious tabloid vibes, but this is a serious issue. A couple of days ago, a comment was posted to the r/ireland subreddit. The comment was posted by someone speaking on behalf of their partner, claiming that after ordering a takeaway, a Deliveroo rider “took her name from delivery details and found her Facebook page” and “messaged her romantically”.
The Landscape Right Now
Now, I’ll admit that it’s always important to take Reddit comments with a pinch of salt, but these accusations, if true, are very serious. The reason should be obvious. We live in a time where women are understandably concerned about their safety. I’m not going to play any macho cards here, because living in Dublin City I can tell you I’m somewhat afraid of being around the city after hours now. Am I afraid of being attacked by a woman? Not particularly. I’m far more worried about a man attacking me or someone I know.
In 2018 98% of suspected offenders of detected sexual violence were male according to the CSO and 81% of the victims female. The same data shows that 81% of suspected offenders of physical assaults in 2018 were males, with 41% of their victims being female.
This is significant because today, the topic of violence towards women is more prominent than ever following the murder of Sarah Everard. The conversation needs to change. I saw an image of some graffiti recently which had “Protect your daughter” crossed out and “Educate your son” written below it. This sums it up for me. Steps to protect our beloved doesn’t start with telling women to use WhatsApp Live Location on their way home or using taxi apps so we know who’s driving them from A to B. We need to start changing how all men, and it is all men, treat women.
I can do more and I commit to that. If you feel attacked by the “all men” idea or find yourself grabbing onto #notallmen, then take a look at yourself. Women need allies and support from all of us to help change the conversation. And that’s why this Reddit comment jumped out at me.
Delivery Rider Looks Up Customer On Social Media
I do need to preface this with some additional commentary. Deliveroo riders have been some of the most unsung heroes of lockdown.
Deliveroo Riders: Frontline Heroes
These riders have kept businesses afloat and delivered food to people self-isolating. They are, without doubt, front-line staff. They get a bad rap from time to time because of poor individual behaviour, but as a regular customer of Deliveroo, I have to point out that some of the people who deliver food to my front door are amongst the nicest people you’d meet. As with any business or organisation, individuals break rules and not all should be painted with the same brush.
Deliveroo Rider: The Data Protection Issue
The claim here is hard to imagine being all that hard to do given that Deliveroo riders simply have to have access to certain customer details. You might find your mind wandering towards ideas like “keep your social media profile on private” but the reality is, no. If what’s claimed here is true, the rider as done something awful and completely unacceptable. In the original comment, the poster added that the rider “knows our address, her number, her name, what sushi she likes” before they “took her name from delivery details and found her Facebook page”.
I’m not sure if this should be classed as a micro-aggression or harassment, but the ultimate point is that it’s an unwanted and unsolicited advance from someone. For Deliveroo it is almost certainly a GDPR issue. Riders are not directly employed by the company, an old trick I’m familiar with from my door-to-door sales days. Instead, riders are self-employed contractors.
Regardless, the personal data of this customer has been collected for the purpose of delivering food. That much was seemingly achieved, but a rider taking this data and using it to find a customer, before sending them a private message, would be a breach of GDPR as far as I can see.
Deliveroo Statement On The Claims
I reached out to Deliveroo for a statement. A company spokesperson said “Deliveroo takes rider conduct and customer safety extremely seriously. We have strict processes in place to ensure that riders adhere to their rider agreement and our community guidelines. If a rider acts inappropriately, as is alleged in this case, we will stop working with that individual. We are urgently looking into this and will take the appropriate action once the internal investigation is concluded”.
How Does Deliveroo Prevent Things Like This From Happening?
Data protection is a tricky thing to nail and there’s usually some weak points in every company’s plan. Deliveroo riders, when they sign up, are bound to a policy and contacting customers outside of the delivery process is a breach of the contract between riders and Deliveroo. As you might be able to guess, policies are a great idea but they’re easy to break.
It’s possible that Deliveroo is expanding a little quicker than they predicted. Given the closure of restaurants to the public, Deliveroo has been a lifeline for many businesses to stay connected with customers. Since its launch in 2015, Deliveroo now works with more than 1100 self-employed riders across Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.
Ultimately, the point of this article is not to focus on Deliveroo. The truth is that this isn’t typical behaviour of Deliveroo riders. This was one person who, largely because of the society we live in, believed this was appropriate.
We need a world of guys who know that crossing the street at night or walking faster to overtake women can help them feel a lot more comfortable.