In order to ensure the safety and authenticity of its drivers, Uber uses facial identification software to recognizes its drivers. However, for the past few years, the company noticed problems with drivers faking their identities.
Hence, the Uber app requires the drivers to take a selfie before logging in and the software compares it to a photograph on the company’s database. Yet, the software is not always accurate and many drivers were fired after the software failed to recognize his face, putting them in a difficult situation, especially during the pandemic.
The facial software technology used by Uber for its Real-Time ID Checks was developed by Microsoft. However, it was stated that, although recognition technology has a lot of potentials, it still has serious limitations. Some of its challenges lay in the fact that it has been proven to not be working as well for women as it does for men and, as well as for people of colour. Yet, many Uber drivers are from minority ethnic groups.
After seven members of the App Drivers and Couriers Union have been fired due to the software’s failure to recognize them, it had decided to take legal action against the company. The union wants to have the technology suspended as it is not governed and used properly, leading to the discrimination of a workforce.
Uber apologized in a statement but declared that the mistake was due to human error and believes that the technology is important for the safety of their platform. Microsoft stated that it is committed to testing and improving the software so it is fairer.