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This article was published on September 23, 2016

Uber’s new plan for rider security involves selfies… lots of selfies

Uber’s new plan for rider security involves selfies… lots of selfies
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Announced today, a new feature for Uber drivers will require a selfie photo before each shift to verify their identities. Real-Time ID Check aims to prevent fraudulent use of a driver’s account and provide customers with a greater sense of confidence in the ride-sharing company.

“Driver account sharing or theft is a low-frequency problem right now, but when it happens it’s a high-severity thing for us so it makes sense to put our security resources on it,” Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan told USA Today. “We’ve been testing this new system with tens of thousands of drivers in the past months, and 99% of the time the photos match up,” he adds, saying the few rejected photos “were all about bad lighting.”

Once taken, the selfie is processed using Microsoft Cognitive Services, a multi-faceted tool that uses facial recognition software to confirm the driver’s identity. The service works by taking measurements of the distance between facial landmarks, such as the eyes ears and nose. If there’s no photo match on file for the driver, the account temporarily shuts down while Uber investigates.

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