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Uber to Start Recording Your Rides

Uber to Start Recording Your Rides
(Mira Agron/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 21 November 2019 10:17 AM

Uber may soon start to make audio recordings during its rides in the U.S. as part of its latest safety feature.

A pilot of the new and controversial security feature will roll out in December in Brazilian and Mexican cities. How it works is that users will be given the choice to have their journey recorded. This will then be shared with law enforcement. 

People choosing to use Uber will be able to opt in to activate an audio recording, according to internal communications viewed by The Washington Post, and confirmed by Uber.  Users will receive a warning that the trips could be subject to recording but neither riders and drivers will be able to listen to the recording.

"When the trip ends, the user will be asked if everything is okay and be able to report a safety incident and submit the audio recording to Uber with a few taps," states an email written by an Uber executive, which was obtained by The Washington Post. "The encrypted audio file is sent to Uber's customer support agents who will use it to better understand an incident and take the appropriate action."

The company says it plans to test the feature out in the U.S. but it is not yet clear when because consent laws, which vary between states, may make things tricky.

The safety feature comes amid safety concerns sparked by numerous complaints of sexual harassment and assault, Engadget reported.

Uber has taken measures to ensure the safety of its customers by adding features such as in-app 911 and automatic safety check-ins, but this has not completely deflected public criticism. 

In September the Post ran an expose on how Uber's investigations unit works to limit the company's liability. SUI investigators are allegedly taught to put the company's interest ahead of passenger safety.

According to the report, the ride-share company uses a three-strike system but exceptions have been made because execs are afraid their drivers will move to competitor Lyft. One driver reportedly was accused of sexual assault for three separate occasions but was allowed to stay with the company until a fourth incident.

"Investigators are there first to protect Uber; and then next to protect the customer," said Lilli Flores, a former investigator in Phoenix. "Our job is to keep the tone of our conversations with customers and drivers so that Uber is not held liable."

Tracey Breeden, Uber's global head of women's safety, insisted safety took precedence.

"Safety is a priority and we're certainly doing what we can — whether it's through our technology or our programs and initiatives — to put safety first."

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Uber may soon start to make audio recordings during its rides in the U.S. as part of its latest safety feature.
uber, recording, ride
Thursday, 21 November 2019 10:17 AM
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