Uber may be one of the most talked-about companies today, but not all of its press is good. In fact, the ride-sharing app company has faced major criticism over the past few years for its lack of security. But hopefully that is about to change.
In a statement made this week, Uber says it is introducing a new security feature—in US cities, at least—which requires drivers verify their identity by snapping pictures periodically. This is the final roll-out of the Real-Time ID Check Tool the company announced in April. It requires that all Uber drivers take the occasional “clear, well-lit” selfie to match against the photo featured in Uber’s files.
The company explains:“Real-Time ID Check prompts drivers to share a selfie before going online to help ensure the driver using the app matches the account we have on file. This prevents fraud and protects drivers’ accounts from being compromised. It also protects riders by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel.”
Of course, the technology is not quite yet perfect and still needs a little more time to finesse. For now, though, the company says this is the best option they have been able to devise, so far, to ensure that customers can trust they are getting into a car with a registered driver. And its not like the program is terrible; on the contrary, beta tests show that while a few unclear photos may have mismatched in the system, the success rate, thus far, remains at 99 percent.
And with that success rate, Uber Real-Time ID Check is rolling out in cities across the United States.
In response to the launch, Uber security chief Joe Sullivan remarks that this program “prevents fraud and protects drivers’ accounts from being compromised,” noting also that it protects riders “by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel.”
Sullivan also assures: “We’re constantly developing and testing new solutions to prevent and reduce risks. During our pilot of Real-Time ID Check over the past few months, the majority of mismatches were due to unclear profile photos. And more than 99 percent of drivers were ultimately verified. Given that verification takes only a few seconds to complete, this feature proactively and efficiently builds more security into the app.”