The Great Reason Your Uber Driver Is Taking A Selfie

Photo: Courtesy of Uber.
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your driver may just be participating in the eponymous ridesharing company's new Real-Time ID Check security initiative.

In an attempt to increase passenger safety, Uber will now randomly require its drivers to verify their identities via selfie, reports Engadget.

How will that work, exactly? When an Uber driver is out and about picking up passengers, their phones will now pipe up occasionally and request a selfie. It will then be compared to one that the company has on file with Microsoft's Cognitive Services. If the pictures do not match for any reason, the driver's account will be temporarily disabled while Uber looks into the situation. The company first instituted this safety selfie program in China earlier this year, where it is reportedly common practice for drivers to give use of their Uber accounts to third parties.

This is not Uber's first effort to increase passenger safety. Leaked customer service tickets raised concerns about incidents of passenger rape and sexual assault and an Uber driver in Michigan was charged with six counts of murder this past winter. Earlier this year, Uber began testing a phone number within its app that passengers can dial in case of an emergency. In June, the company started sending its drivers a post-ride report card that evaluated the safety of their driving.

However, in the not-so-distant future, Ubers may not need a driver at all. In which case, we'll all just have to start taking selfies with the cars themselves. (And maybe even stop obsessing over that perfect five-star rating — but that's another issue entirely.)

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