Uber reportedly pressured into biometric verification of London drivers

Uber reportedly pressured into biometric verification of London drivers

There is some speculation going around that Uber was asked by Transport for London to collect driver fingerprints or facial biometrics if they want to keep operating in the city, writes Wired.

The company only has a temporary license received in September 2018, and has to decide by Monday if it agrees or not to the new demands regarding biometric data collection and other requirements imposed by TfL such as “appropriate security protocols to avoid drivers tampering with the app, or other Uber systems, in a manner that could put the safety, security and comfort of passengers at risk.”

The transportation regulator wants to ensure the drivers are who they say they are and that they have a valid license and registration, in order to protect passenger safety.

A representative for Uber drivers at the Independent Workers of Great Britain union called the measure “disproportionate and discriminatory.”

According to Wired, TfL has not commented on the matter, and Uber did not give any information on what will be the outcome of negotiations regarding driver requirements.

“Maybe TfL will be satisfied with something simple, but it seems like they are going the extra mile with Uber to make sure,” says Alan Woodward, a data protection expert from the University of Surrey.
“What could it be used for, what is the purpose that it could be passed on for? Could it be passed on to the police. These are, at best, grey areas when it comes to sharing that data and GDPR.”

If Uber does not accept the requirements imposed by TfL, the matter could escalate to a court of law. This would not be the first matter the two organizations have fought over in court. Two years ago, Uber won a lawsuit against TfL after it refused to renew its license fearing passenger safety and arguing Uber does not properly report criminal offenses.

In 2016, Uber introduced facial recognition security checks for U.S. drivers, and one year later it introduced it for Indian drivers.

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