Uber drivers will take selfies in security upgrade

Uber drivers in the US will begin their shift with a selfie, the ride-hailing company has announced on Friday.

The company explained in a blog post that it is expanding its Real-Time ID Check, their latest security feature aimed at both preventing fraudulent use of a drivers’ accounts and adding another degree of accountability into the app.

“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,” the company said in the blog.
“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.”

Drivers will be asked periodically to take a selfie before accepting rides, the company explained in the blog.

The company is teaming up with Microsoft Cognitive Services, which uses facial recognition software to confirm the driver’s identity, will then compare this photograph to the one corresponding with the account on file.

“Driver account sharing or theft is a low-frequency problem right now, but when it happens it’s a high-severity thing for us so it makes sense to put our security resources on it,” Joe Sullivan, Uber chief security officer, told USA TODAY.

The company explained that when the photo on file and the selfie don’t match the account is blocked until the situation is cleared.  During a pilot of Real-Time ID Check, the majority of mismatches were due to unclear profile photos and 99% of drivers were ultimately verified, the company said.
Uber said that it has also started using GPS and smartphone technology to detect and prevent “dangerous driving behaviour such as fast acceleration and hard breaking.”

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