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Uber drivers will take more selfies to keep passengers safe

The term "selfie" will now hold a different meaning for Uber drivers as the company's Real-Time ID Check rolls out to India.


If you hail an Uber ride in India, you now have a reason to feel safer around your driver.

To help you be sure that the driver who picks you up is the same person who passed Uber's screening process, the company announced on its blog that it will roll out its "Real-Time ID Check" security feature to five cities in India.

The feature will prompt the Uber driver to snap a selfie at regular intervals. Uber will use that photo and Microsoft's Cognitive Services to ensure that the right person is behind the wheel. If the selfie doesn't match the driver's registered profile photo, Uber will temporarily ban the driver's account while it investigates the matter.

"This feature protects riders from unverified drivers and [...] fraud by ensuring drivers' accounts are not compromised," said Uber in the blog post. The company also clarified that the prompt will remind drivers to pull over and take a selfie safely if they're driving.

This move comes after Uber India announced new rules intended to keep drivers and passengers' behavior in check. Uber drivers have come under the spotlight in recent years for misconduct, including one who was arrested for alleged misbehavior "intended to insult the modesty of a woman" last week.

The feature was first rolled out in US last September. Uber claims it's used the feature to verify over 99% of driver-partners and attributes most mismatches to "unclear profile pictures." It will also be introduced to other countries including Australia, Brazil, Russia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, says Business Standard.

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