In an effort to prevent drivers’ accounts from being compromised, Uber has announced a new security measure called Real-Time ID Check that will require drivers to periodically take a photo of themselves before they can sign onto the platform and accept rides.
“We then use Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding with the account on file,” Uber’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote in a post today. “If the two photos don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while we look into the situation.”
Sullivan says that during the pilot of the new selfie system, most the mismatches came down to unclear profile photos, but that more than 99% 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,” Sullivan writes.
However, some critics are calling the move an admission by Uber that drivers often share accounts.
“This is Uber acknowledging drivers share their accounts and the company’s effort to reduce this practice,” David Sutton, a spokesperson for the “Who’s Driving You?” public safety campaign run by the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association, said in an emailed statement. “Despite intense criticism of Uber’s screening process, the company is admitting there are drivers who’ve never undergone any form of background check.”
Uber is no stranger to criticism when it comes to its safety procedures: earlier this month, a judge denied a $28.5 million settlement in the company’s legal battle over $449 million it collected in “safe ride” fees.