Uber thinks you’ll trade privacy for greater safety with new recording feature

Your Uber rides will soon be audio recorded as part of a new security feature aimed at increasing riders’ safety. 

The Washington Post reports that the rideshare company confirmed the feature that was said to be in the works. Uber will begin to pilot the audio-recording feature in cars in Latin America starting in December. The company did not give a time frame on when the feature will be rolling out to U.S. riders, since Uber will have to abide by each state’s laws on the practice. 

Uber told Digital Trends that riders would be able to choose whether or not they want to record audio through their phone. Neither riders or drivers will be able to listen to the recording. Passengers will be asked if their trip went OK and can then report any safety incident before submitting the audio recording to Uber. Uber’s customer service support would then listen to the recording to decide what to do about a specific incident. 

“We have taken a position that whenever you are in an Uber, the feeling that we want both parties to have is ‘the lights are on,’” Sachin Kansal, head of safety products at Uber, told the Post. “That leads to safer interaction on the platform.” 

The announcement of an audio-recording feature comes at a time when Uber has been criticized for the way it addresses riders’ safety. In September, a report from the Washington Post claimed that Uber’s internal investigation team, which handles customer complaints of crimes like sexual assault and rape, is “forbidden” from reporting allegations against drivers to authorities. Instead, the rideshare app uses a three-strike system for its drivers and won’t remove them as a driver from the platform unless they get three strikes for “bad behavior.” 

Uber’s direct competitor, Lyft, has also had issues regarding passengers’ safety, with 14 women filing a lawsuit against the company in September on the grounds that Lyft doesn’t do enough to protect female passengers. 

Both Lyft and Uber have included a type of panic button” feature within their apps so passengers can contact authorities morwe quickly.

Digital Trends reached out to Uber to comment on the audio -ecording feature, and we’ll update this story once we hear back. 

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