Uber expands audio recording safety feature to Sioux Falls

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:17 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Starting this week, Uber drivers and riders in Sioux Falls will have access to an in-app safety feature that allows them to record audio during trips.

Uber has been piloting this feature in select cities across the US since 2021, and Sioux Falls is one of several new cities that this feature is expanding to.

Once enabled, the feature gives riders and drivers the option to record audio during a trip by tapping the blue shield icon on the map screen and hitting “Start” on the “Record Audio” option. Drivers and riders can start or stop an audio recording at any point during a trip. Unless ended manually by the user during the trip, recording will automatically stop shortly after the trip is completed, according to Uber.

Rider recording audio with Uber
Rider recording audio with Uber(Uber)

“We are excited to bring this important feature to more cities across the US,” said Andi Pimentel Dunn, Product Manager at Uber. “We’re committed to investing in innovative technology to enhance safety on the platform. We hope that by expanding this tool, we can continue to help give riders and drivers peace of mind and encourage more comfortable interactions while on trips.”

Uber says that once an audio recording is completed, the audio file is encrypted and stored directly on the rider or driver’s device. To help protect privacy, no one will be able to listen to the recording, including Uber, unless a driver or rider submits a safety report to Uber and attaches the encrypted audio file. At that time, the file will be decrypted and a trained safety agent will be able to review the submitted audio. The audio, along with other incident information, can help Uber determine the best course of action, according to the company.

“From the start, our goal was to design this feature in a way that keeps the recordings secure and protects the privacy of all parties involved.” said Uttara Sivaram, head of privacy and security public policy. “That’s why we built this feature to immediately encrypt the audio file and store it directly on the user’s phone, ensuring that no one, not even Uber, is able to access the recording unless a user submits it to us to review. And if a driver chooses to enable this feature, it sends a message to the rider, alerting them that audio may be recorded during their trip.”