Uber’s performance in Brazil has come under criticism in the international press. An article published by Business Insider, with data from The New York Times, accuses the company of having used «loose identification requirements», causing the death of at least 16 drivers who accepted cash-paid races. According to the publication, a more advanced method of verifying passengers’ identity was slow to arrive, even with the increase in violence.
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The report claims the number was discovered by The New York Times reporter Mike Isaac for a book to be released on the subject. In his research, Isaac ponders that, in addition to a phone number or email, Uber, until recently, did not require any identity verification of passengers. Therefore, anyone could create an account to call a car.
At least 16 Uber drivers have already been murdered by passengers who requested cash payment – Photo: Disclosure / Uber
The Business Insider article also says that, in the face of evident security flaws, criminals in Brazil played «Uber Roulette», looking for a driver who would accept cash payment to commit crimes. The New York Times wrote that, despite the increase in violence, Uber maintained for a long time the policy of asking for little data for a passenger to register on the platform.
To dnetc, the driver Evaldo Neto said he believes that Uber still lacks in guaranteeing safety and support for drivers. He is not afraid to take cash races, but the fear of suffering some form of violence at work exists. «In Rio de Janeiro there are areas occupied by criminal groups, which pose a greater risk to the safety of everyone. In these areas and in their surroundings it is impossible not to be afraid, especially at night and especially during the night,» he says.
Another driver, who declined to be identified, said that she usually takes the races paid for in cash, but that she first checks the passenger’s note on the app. «Malicious people usually defraud an account to apply. Therefore, the note is 5 stars. Almost always accepted, but paying close attention at the place of the application,» he reveals.
She is also afraid to move through areas considered to be at risk. «I think the travel sharing functionality is important, but for the driver to be able to protect himself from dangerous places, I think Uber could release the destination information when accepting a request,» he suggests.
Passengers also report fear
But it’s not just the drivers who fear for their own safety inside Uber. Passengers also report problematic cases involving the app. A victim, who declined to be named, said that at the end of last year, he requested a 10 pm run. As she was already used to doing the same path every day, she noticed when the driver changed the route. She warned and said that she could guide him, but she noticed that the man talked about it and kept going around to lose her, entering slums.
An hour after the race started, the driver stopped in a completely deserted area. «I was already on the thousandth request to get out of the car. Then he said: ‘Now what do we do?’. He was insinuating himself to me, with his legs spread and approaching physically,» he recalls.
The victim had no cell phone signal, no network and was stunned. She then lied saying that her boyfriend lived across the street. It was only then that the driver unlocked the door. As he got out of the car, he found a group and told what had happened. «They put me in a 99 car for my initial destination,» he says. She tried to press charges at the police station, but was discouraged by the police. It was then that he contacted Uber, who returned the fare and stated that the driver was disconnected from the platform.
Another case happened to a woman, who also chose not to identify herself. She says she was making a quick trip, in the early hours of the morning, in a city she didn’t know very well. «I should do it in a maximum of five minutes because at that time there was no one on the street. Then the driver started to praise me, talk about my perfume and my accent», he says.
She says the man was walking very slowly down the street and asked him to go faster. «He kept asking me: ‘Why? Let’s go for a walk. I can’t go any faster than that, this is traffic’. But I didn’t have a car in front and everything was pitch black,» he says.
The victim began to get nervous and noticed that the driver was implying that he would pull over in an area with several motels. She confronted him, but the man continued to invite her for a walk, claiming that the trip was too fast and that it would be early. It was then that the woman picked up the phone and pretended to call her boyfriend.
She simulated a conversation, pretending that the boy would be waiting for her at the airport. «I said that the driver was taking too long to drop me off at the destination and that he thought the car was in trouble, so I would be late. When I did that, he finally dropped me off at the airport. But he stopped, pulled over and stayed looking at me «, he remembers.
The victim reported what happened to Uber still in line at the airport and received a call a few minutes later. There is no certainty, however, whether the driver was definitively expelled from the platform. «They said they were going to block it so that I would never run into it again, which would not be easy either, since I was in another city. But they blocked it, returned the fare to me and I became an Uber VIP,» he says.
dnetc contacted Uber to find out the number of drivers and passengers who have already been killed in service or using the app. We also question what measures are taken to avoid problems with the safety of users and professionals. The company manifested itself through a note. Read below in full:
Safety is a priority for Uber, so the company continues to invest constantly in new technologies and processes. Uber has been working permanently to make its platform as safe as possible for users and driver partners – which was reinforced after its current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, made safety the company’s top priority.
As part of these efforts, the company implemented in Brazil its first Technological Development Center (Tech Center) in Latin America – which is also the first in the world with an initial focus on security solutions, and which has been working on the development of part of these new solutions .
Since last year, Uber has adopted the machine learning feature in Brazil, which uses technology to block trips considered more risky. This tool uses algorithms that learn in an automated way from the data and blocks trips considered potentially more risky, unless the user provides additional identification details.
The company has also launched a tool that brings together safety features for partner drivers, which includes a button to call the police in situations of risk or emergency directly from the app. The driver can also share the location, the route and the arrival time, in real time, with whomever he wishes.
More recently, Uber announced a partnership with Serasa Experian to validate the identifying information of users of the app who want to pay for their trip in cash only. The tool that will do the checking, called U-Check, was the first to be developed by the newly formed team of engineers from the Tech Center installed by the company in São Paulo.
The application also allows travel requests to be canceled by partner drivers whenever they feel unsafe.
If the user needs to contact the driver or vice versa, their phone number is kept confidential, preserving the privacy of both sides. Messages sent in the app’s chat that may be considered offensive or that threaten the integrity of a person automatically enter a permanent account deactivation process.
As always, all trips are recorded by GPS, which allows Uber to collaborate with the authorities, under the terms of the Law, in case of need. We have a team specialized in the relationship with police authorities and that cooperates in investigations, always respecting Brazilian law.
Finally, our partners have a 0800 phone number to register and request Uber support after they have reported incidents to the authorities and are safe – for example, in the case of the need to trigger the APP Insurance that covers personal accidents in all travels. Uber offers its partners free insurance with coverage of up to R $ 100,000.00 in case of personal accidents that occur during their deliveries and a refund of up to R $ 15,000.00 in medical expenses. Uber has a support team specialized in security available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which analyzes individually on a case-by-case basis and who can ban users or drivers who have a low average rating or conduct that violates the terms of the platform. of use.
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