Uber India Announces Selfie-Powered Real-Time ID Check for Improved Security

Cheryl Sanders
March 14, 2017

"Drivers are periodically asked to share a selfie with Uber before they log onto the app; we then instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding with the account on file".

Speaking to ANC, Uber General Manager Laurence Cua said the real-time ID check protects drivers and passengers as it matches the account Uber has on file with the driver using the auto.

Uber is paying close attention to making rides safer in India and has announced a couple of new features recently which include the display of driver first name, photo, license plate number and rating when a driver accepts a request. The feature will now be available in India in five cities - New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Uber had rolled out "Real ID check" in September previous year in the United States. If in case, the information of the driver on the servers of Uber doesn't match, immediately, Uber will suspend the account of the driver for some time till the completion of the investigation process.

Joe Sullivan, chief security officer at Uber said that, "This prevents fraud and protects drivers' accounts from being compromised". In addition, the company said they were equally conscious about recruiting driver partners with valid documents, after a comprehensive background check and a mandatory soft skill training that enables them to offer riders a great experience. Drivers and riders can contact each other through the app if there is any confusion around pick-up details.

"We make it amply clear that drivers shouldn't touch or flirt with riders".

The feature was earlier announced as a pilot project in the USA in September previous year. The pilot programme that was launched in the United States a while back proved to be very successful as the technology was able to verify more than 99 percent of drivers with an average verification time of just a few seconds.

According to Uber, photos taken even in lowly lit conditions will work and the driver does not necessarily need a very high end phone with a selfie-flash or anything. The Real Time ID Check feature that helps the passengers to enhance their security. It could be triggered by other indicators including rider feedback or suspicious behaviour like driving two consecutive trips on opposite sides of a city, it added. It will not happen after a ride is booked, so as to prevent any wastage of driver or rider time.

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