Uber today announced that it has launched a selfie-powered real-time ID check in India. The latest security feature uses Microsoft Cognitive Services, which prompts drivers to share a selfie before going online to help ensure that the driver using the app matches the account that is there on Uber.
An official statement by the company confirms that this was done to prevent any frauds and stops the drivers’ accounts from being hacked or misused. Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer at Uber, confirmed that it also protects riders by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel.
“Today, we’re thrilled to launch this feature in five cities in India, starting with New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata, with more cities to follow. We believe this new initiative will go a long way in keeping our riders and drivers in the city safe and our rides reliable like never before,” said Joe.
Through the real-time ID check, drivers are periodically asked to take a selfie on their app before they accept rides. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services are then used to compare the photo to the one on file, and if the photos do not match, the account is temporarily blocked, while internal investigations take place.
Joe added that Uber is constantly developing and testing new solutions to enhance security for both drivers and riders. They did an extensive pilot and US rollout last year, which demonstrated the effectiveness of real-time ID check in proactively using technology in ways not possible before.
The average verification time is just a few seconds, and the technology was successful in verifying more than 99 percent of drivers in the pilot programme.
The real-time ID check is already deployed across the US, and the team claims that they are now starting to roll out in international markets, including South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and here in India.
In India, this is a much needed move, as drivers currently seem to be using various hacks to beat the system.