According to a Washington-based company newsletter that was confirmed by Uber itself, Uber will announce a recording function in the United States to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers. The firm said it plans to test the feature inBrazil and Mexico next month before deciding when to announce it to the USA.
The driver can set the function automatically to record all trips, and the passenger must activate the feature through the application’s security kit before boarding the car. It is not clear if they need to enable the feature before each ride. Either way, the rider, and the passenger are not notified when the recording starts. Uber says that when the feature is available, they receive a general warning and prompt them to grant access to the app microphone. When the driver reports a security issue, he or she can choose to submit the recording to Uber’s client support team. If the user decides to report the event later, the tape is saved. The disk will be encrypted, and the rider and driver will not be able to access the audio themselves, but Reuters reported earlier this month that the first launch of this feature in Mexico and Brazil might provide these recordings to law enforcement officials upon request. This feature may cause some privacy issues: some states have eavesdropping regulations that prohibit the recording of personnel without the consent of both parties. This is more complicated when multiple passengers are involved. Uber said that these problems are still being solved. Uber has been concerned about user safety, the history of sexual assault cases. CNN reported last year that at least 103 Uber drivers were accused of sexually assaulting or harassing their passengers, and at least 31 drivers were convicted, including forced touch, false imprisonment, and rape.
There have also been several cases of sexual harassment within Uber. Uber’s former engineer Susan Fowler wrote a viral report on gender discrimination and harassment at the company. Subsequent sexual harassment investigations at Uber led to the dismissal of 20 employees.The bus company has imposed a compulsory arbitration policy on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but it was terminated last year.