Uber is testing out a new audio-recording feature in Mexico and Brazil as part of the ride-hailing app’s efforts to improve safety.
The feature was first unveiled at an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, earlier this month, and will allow drivers and riders to record audio of their trip “before or during the trip in some regions,” according to an Uber blog post in Portuguese.
Notice that this is being tested in countries that don’t have the anti wiretapping laws that we have in the US. That is, they have no Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure. I’ll not bore you with the entire history of that, but suffice it to say that since the 1930s, recording people’s conversations without consent or a warrant is illegal in most cases. At least in America.
On to the main point of this brief blog post.
Earlier this year, a South Carolina college student was killed after getting into a vehicle she mistook for her Uber ride. This prompted the company to push out an alert for riders to check the license plate, make and model of the vehicle — as well as the name and picture of the driver — to confirm it’s the correct person picking them up.
Uber has an unsatisfactory history of vetting it’s drivers. In fact, it pretty much has no history of vetting it’s drivers. Now, I’m not a pretty young, female college student and I don’t use ride services very often. Which doesn’t mean that the unwary can’t become victims of other crimes. Which is why I’m wary when I’m using a ride service. Unless circumstance prevents it, I’m also armed. Yes, I know that violate Uber’s terms of service, but who gives a … dang? That aside, I don’t bury my head in my phone when I’m riding and I do have Waze open to make sure we’re going to the location I specified.
All of that being said here is on thing that you should keep in mind if you are using this type of service.
Uber’s business model is based on ignoring advice that your mother gave you when you were young.
“Don’t get in a car with a stranger.”
Your mother knew what she was talking about.