Uber brings audio recording feature to this country to enhance safety quotient

Uber has introduced an audio recording featuring as part of its pilot program in three cities of the US, namely, Kansas City, Louisville, and Raleigh-Durham, in order to enhance safety quotient of drivers and passengers. Through this feature, the ride-hailing app aims to encourage safe and comfortable interactions while on a trip.

FILE PHOTO: The logo for Uber Technologies is seen on a vehicle in Manhattan, New York City, New York, US. (Reuters)
FILE PHOTO: The logo for Uber Technologies is seen on a vehicle in Manhattan, New York City, New York, US.

The pilot program, that is already operational in 14 countries, will now allow drivers and riders in the three US cities to start a recording from within the Uber app if they feel it is required for safety reasons. There will be an option to record individual trips but drivers can also choose to leave the feature on while they’re online. If a driver has opted into the feature, Uber will let the passenger know before the trip.

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Further, the recording will not be accessible to either the person who recorded it or to Uber unless there is a safety report filed. Though using Uber's in-app recording feature is similar to using a phone's recorder, Uber mentions in its blog post that the audio file is encrypted using AES encryption Galois/Counter Mode and stored on the rider and driver’s devices. But, no one can listen to the audio by default. However, if the user submits a safety report to Uber, they can attach the audio file to their report.

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If such a submission is made, a trained Uber safety agent will decrypt and review the submitted audio recording along with other relevant information. The recording will help the agent determine what happened during the trip and the best course of action. Notably, if a user deletes the recording, Uber won't be able to recover it.

However, the Uber app won't be able to record any audio if the driver/rider is talking to someone on the phone. Also, the recording will automatically end for the rider soon after the trip ends.

First Published Date: 07 Dec 2021, 17:30 PM IST
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