Uber released a statement on Wednesday, 20th November 2019 that it plans to test a new safety feature. This will let passengers and drivers record their conversations and share them with the rideshare service.
They plan a test starting next month in Brazil and Mexico, with the potential to expand it to other countries.
“If necessary, this tool can help give us more clarity about what happened inside the vehicle on a trip,” Uber global security products director Sachin Kansal said in an online post.
This move comes amid increasing concerns over safety and reports of harassment in rideshare vehicles. Recording conversations could help determine facts in a dispute, but also raises privacy issues. Recall that in October this year, a woman shared a video of a taxi driver in Abuja j*rking off in her presence.
Audio recorded using the feature in the app is encrypted and left on the handset. It then remains unless a rider or driver decides to share it with the company, according to Sachin.
At the end of every trip, the app will query whether there was a problem during the ride and if a person wants to send the audio file. The encrypted audio file will upload to Uber’s customer support agents. They will then use it to better understand an incident and take the appropriate action.’
The San Francisco-based company’s drivers also have been victims of attacks. In both Brazil and Mexico, Uber allows riders to pay with cash, which increases the risk of incidents. In Brazil, drivers suffer robbery, violence and other attacks using the rideshare service, the company said.
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Plans to release US Safety report
Uber has plans to release a safety report this year which will provide data on reports of s****l assaults and other safety incidents that occurred in the United States. The company also noted in the email that it plans on testing it in the US ‘soon’. Although, there’s no official rollout date.
The audio can’t be replayed by riders or drivers, according to the company. Uber has software “keys” to unlock encrypted audio it receives. The firm notes that this raises privacy issues depending on the state but, they hope to make the feature national.