Ethical sins in Silicon Valley?

Data and analytics are studied at millions of companies. It's a way to learn consumer behavior and build businesses. It's also a way to get a company into hot water, like it did for Uber.

Uber found itself in the midst of a controversy this week after comments made by a company executive suggested the start-up spend millions of dollars to dig up dirt on reporters. And now, Buzzfeed reports that Uber's company staff can track its vehicles and customers with an internal app called God View.

keyboard, typing, hacker, cybercrime, cybersecurity, hacking, data breach
MariuszBlach | Getty Images

Personal information is at the fingertips of so many of the companies we use on a regular basis, yet the laws and rules of how to use this personal data is not clear across the board.

"We have never in history been at a point where we were more extortable," said Chris Hoofnagle, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in online privacy. "We have to think about how the service provider itself can be a threat."

Before installing an app on a smartphone, a consumer can check out how its doing. Read MorePrivacy Grade is a collaboration of researchers that assign grades to Android apps. The grading app is done on a model to measure consumer expectations and comfort levels.

According to Privacy Grade, Google, Facebook and YouTube have an A-rating while some kid-friendly apps have less comforting marks, Fruit Ninja and Despicable Me are rated D.

An Uber spokesperson said, "Our data privacy policy applies to all employees: Access to and use of data is permitted only for legitimate business purposes. Data security specialists monitor and audit that access on an ongoing basis. Violations of this policy do result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination and legal action."