Uber rolls out security selfies in US for driver authentication

Uber has taken another step toward addressing safety concerns voiced by critics, doing so by starting a rollout of security selfies in the United States. With these selfies, an Uber driver takes a selfie using their phone before they can go online in the Uber system, which users the selfie to determine whether the driver matches the account owner's photo on file. By doing so, it serves as an authentication of sorts that the driver is who he or she is supposed to be.

The feature is called Real-Time ID Check, which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services, and it is starting its rollout to some cities throughout the US. With the feature, both riders and drivers get an element of protection: if someone gets access to a driver's account, for example, they'll have difficulty actually using it to pick people up because they'll have to pass the selfie authentication.

Riders (those who hear about the feature, anyway) will also be able to ride at ease knowing the driver who picked them up is the driver who is listed on the account, not some random person who figured out how to get access.

The app will only ask for a selfie sometimes, though, doing so before a ride is accepted. If the system decides the two photos don't match, the account will be temporarily suspended while Uber investigates. The process takes a few seconds overall, and Uber says it is very accurate, with mismatches usually resulting from poorly taken profile photos. So if you're an Uber driver, make sure you have a clear picture on file, and take a moment to snap a well-lit selfie when necessary.

SOURCE: Uber Blog