Selfies and Security

Who knew that a selfie could be used to make your ride more secure?

At Uber, we’re always looking for ways to strengthen security on the app. We’re constantly developing and testing new solutions to enhance security for both drivers and riders using technology in ways not possible before.

With that, we’re proud to announce that Real-Time ID Check, our latest security feature which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services to protect both riders and drivers, is now live in Singapore!

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.

Here’s how it works:

  • Drivers are asked periodically to take a selfie in the Uber app before they accept rides.
  • We then use Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to instantly compare this photo to the one corresponding to the account on file.
  • If the two photos don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while we look into the situation.

We’ve optimised the experience to work on nearly any device that has a camera. We’ve also built in helpful features such as:

  • Requiring driver-partners to pull over in order to take a selfie. #SafetyFirst
  • Helping driver-partners submit a proper photo and let them know instantly if we can’t detect a face or if the photo quality is poor.

During our pilot of Real-Time ID Check over the past few months in the US, the majority of mismatches were due to unclear profile photos. And 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. If you’d like to learn more about the engineering that went into this feature, check out our blog here.

Our Global Safety Team continues to explore technologies that keep riders and drivers safe and secure. For example, we’ve begun using GPS and smartphone technology to detect and prevent dangerous driving behaviour such as fast acceleration and hard braking. Riders receive their driver’s name, photo and vehicle information (even the color of their Uber!) to ensure they get into the right car with the right driver. We’ve built into the app easy ways for people to share their journey on a map with friends and family.

Selfies and security… it’s just Uber’s way of introducing the kind of smart innovation that moves Singapore forward!

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