Uber introduces ’selfie’ facial recognition check at random times for UK drivers

Ride-hailing firm Uber are to bring in real time facial checks for its UK drivers working on the platform.

As of today the minicab operators are rolling out the additional ID check which will ask drivers to take selfies of themselves at random times when they log on to the app.

It is hoped that the real time ID check will verify that driver accounts aren’t being used by anyone other than the licensed individuals.

How does it work?

  • Uber will ask drivers to take a real-time photo of themselves for verification.

  • Driver selfies will be matched against the account holder’s profile picture, which in turn has been checked against the driver’s licence.

  • To help respect their privacy, drivers can choose whether their selfie is verified by photo-comparison software or by human reviewers.

  • Any biometric data collected as part of the check is deleted within 24 hours.

If a driver fails the ID Check, their account will immediately be temporarily suspended so Uber can carry out further checks.

A spokesperson from Uber UK, wrote: “Safety is our number one priority. There is nothing more important than the safety of the riders and drivers who use the Uber app.

“We are always investing in new ways to enhance safety on the platform and today we have started rolling out Real-Time ID Check for all drivers across the UK."

The move comes following concerns around passenger safety which saw the US operator lose its London licence back in November 2019.

A key issue identified by the London regulators Transport for London (TfL) was that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips, putting passenger safety and security at risk.

This meant all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL. 

Uber are appealing the decision to not renew its operator's licence in the capital. The Magistrates' Court appeal will start in July.