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Uber admits hitch on phone number concealing feature




An Uber mobile application. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Online taxi-hailing firm Uber has attributed the withdrawal of a privacy feature introduced to conceal rider and driver phone numbers to “technical issues.”

Uber had in July rolled-out a software that connected calls between its drivers and riders while anonymising their phone numbers. The move was aimed at boosting the security and discretion of both parties.

Uber at the time said the move was made to secure riders and drivers identities and prevent further unnecessary contact. But the rollout of the feature caused difficulties in connecting drivers and riders leading to its withdrawal.

“We introduced the phone anonymisation feature in Kenya with rider and driver safety and privacy in mind. Through feedback, we have identified some technical issues with the feature,” said Uber spokesperson Janet Kemboi.

“Our team has been working hard to fix these issues to ensure a seamless technology product. In order to offer riders/drivers the high-quality service they have come to expect from Uber, we are temporarily turning off this feature while we resolve these tech issues.”

The now non-operational feature, for instance, required riders hailing on behalf of family or friends to connect to share contact details of the passenger through the in-app message function, making it challenging to directly link them.

Uber has since 2016 introduced a raft of measures meant to boost the security of riders and drivers. Earlier, the firm introduced the “share trip” function used by both riders and drivers to enable friends and family to keep track of their location as a way of ensuring their security.

The firm also introduced a security feature that runs real-time checks to verify the identity of the driver every time they go online.







Kenyan Digest