Uber has been criticized in the past due to their flaky verification process and peculiar business model which allows anyone with a car and license to become a driver. In addition to relative ease of induction, Uber has been hesitant to use biometric verification to identify drivers, due to it being a hindrance in quick and smooth operation of their services. These oversights on Uber’s part have resulted in some ugly incidents which raise questions about security and reliability of its whole operation.
Uber seems to be aware of this growing discontent among users. To overcome some common issues like identity theft of Uber drivers and handling of passengers by unauthorized personnel, Uber is introducing a new mandatory security feature for all of its drivers. Now before going online and accepting a ride, drivers will have to take a selfie and it will then matched with the corresponding picture on driver’s work profile. Failure to do so will result in a temporary blockage of said driver’s account.
A blog post on the official Uber news blog gives detail about the whole process:
- Drivers are asked periodically to take a selfie in the Uber app before they accept rides.
- We then use Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding with the account on file.
- If the two photos don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while we look into the situation.
Uber notes that while the process is still in its early stages, after 2 months of pilot testing, 99 percent of drivers enrolled in the program were able to get their accounts verified. Due to such overwhelming success, Uber is now expanding this feature globally and will make this mandatory for all drivers before they are allowed to accept ride requests.
This is step in the right direction and will help Uber regain trust among its users. However, there is still room for improvement, especially in countries like Pakistan where the service is still young and riddled with flaws.
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