In order to address safety issues in one of its biggest markets, Uber has announced this Wednesday, 6, a new feature that allows both passengers and drivers to record audio of the rides. The new feature is available, for now, in Mexico and Brazil – but the ride-hailing company doesn’t dismiss implementing the measure in other countries in the region and possibly beyond.
Since its IPO in May, Uber has declared in financial statements that there are “numerous and increasing reports” of passengers or drivers in Latin America being “victimized by violent crime, such as armed robbery, violent assault, and rape, while taking or providing a trip on our platform,” as informed by The New York Times.
However, the new measure adopted by the ride-hailing company raised several concerns regarding privacy – for what Uber replied saying that the recordings will be encrypted and users won’t be able to play the audio back in the app. Rather, the passenger or driver could send the file to the company, which will be the only one able to decrypt and review the file in case someone alleges misconduct or crime during the trip. If requested, Uber could also share the recordings with law enforcement.
If a recording is started by the user, the driver will be notified, but cannot refuse it to happen. The same goes for audios stored at the driver’s request. The recordings will only start if either driver or passenger access the app and run it. Although the company didn’t specify when, the new measure for addressing security matters in such a big market for Uber (only in Brazil there are more than 22 million active users) will be launched soon, according to the company, being tested in a handful of Brazilian and Mexican cities at first.