Uber quietly testing Live Scan fingerprinting on some drivers

October 15, 2015 - 

Despite publicly opposing fingerprinting background checks for its drivers, ride-hailing service Uber is reportedly looking into implementing fingerprinting with Live Scan, the very technology it criticized for being rampant with flaws, according to a report by Forbes.

Uber’s testing of Live Scan fingerprinting technology signals the company’s willingness to potentially update its current background checks, which has been highly scrutinized ever since the company launched.

Various municipal governments across the country, including Austin, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, have long been pressuring Uber to implement fingerprinting checks.

Additionally, California prosecutors sued Uber last year over allegations of misrepresenting its safety measures in its advertisements by not implementing Live Scan.

Uber’s background checking process currently consists of asking prospective drivers to submit identify information, such as a Social Security Number, without also conducting additional biometrics screening. This means that people could potentially apply under false identities.

In May, Uber invited 500 drivers in Los Angeles and Burbank to participate in the Live Scan fingerprinting process, according to an email addressed to drivers and a permission form obtained by Forbes.

The form, which can be viewed in its entirety in the Forbes report, stated that Uber “is conducting a study on the effectiveness” of Live Scan.

One driver who participated in the test (who declined to be named because the test was confidential) said that upon arriving at the meeting place, he was sent to a facility, fingerprinted, and gifted four $50 Visa cards on the condition that his results came back clean.

It is unclear whether Uber has conducted the test in other cities or on additional occasions since May.

Meanwhile, Uber spokesman Matt McKenna declined to comment on the test, but said that Uber is “always looking at ways to use technology to improve safety for riders and drivers before, during and after a trip.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.