On September 23rd, Uber announced a new policy that will require its drivers to take periodic selfies to prove their identity before they can accept a ride request. Using technology from Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, the new feature, called “Real-Time ID Check”, will help to ensure that the driver using the app is the same person Uber has on file.
The goal behind Uber’s new policy is not only to “prevent fraud and protect driver accounts”, Uber wrote in a Blog Post. “It also protects riders by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel.”
Uber has been in the news a lot recently, mostly due to the controversy over how they conduct background checks for their drivers. Multiple women have filed lawsuits against Uber, claiming they were assaulted by their drivers and that the company hasn’t done enough to prevent these attacks. Some critics argue that Uber should fingerprint their drivers, an argument that forced the ride-share company out of some US cities, but the company believes that its present background checks are sufficient. In addition to an application, potential drivers must provide a copy of their driver’s license, as well as proof of vehicle inspection, registration, and insurance.
Previously, Uber was testing “Real-Time ID Check” in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Atlanta. But the policy was expanded nationwide after the announcement was made.