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13.07.2018 Technology

Uber Increases Privacy And Safety By Anonymising Phone Numbers

By Kobina Makuom
Uber Increases Privacy And Safety By Anonymising Phone Numbers
LISTEN JUL 13, 2018

[Accra, 12 July 2018] Uber has announced new privacy changes to its app in Ghana that now anonymises phone numbers of driver-partners and riders. As of 12 July 2018, drivers and riders will no longer have access to each other’s private phone numbers.

Lola Kassim, General Manager West Africa, explains, “voice anonymisation is a safety precaution, ensuring that the privacy of both driver-partners and riders is considered at all times."

Uber will now use software to connect calls between a driver and a rider that anonymises both cell phone numbers. Drivers will now see the same contact number for each rider that contacts them. Once a trip comes to an end, riders are encouraged to use Uber’s 24/7 in-app support should they need to reach a driver.

“The benefit of using our in-app support is two-fold. Riders have access to 24/7 support in the event that they need assistance (no more calling a driver that cannot be reached due to the driver being on the road). Secondly, this change has the added benefit of keeping a formal track record of communication. Uber will have a record of correspondence to assist with a request, for example, in the event of a rider having left an item in a vehicle,” says Kassim.

Riders can also chat to their driver via the in-app chat feature. Both riders and drivers will see if their chats are delivered and read, helping to confirm the other actually received the communication. To chat with their driver en route, a rider should go to the Uber feed and tap “contact” and then “chat.” When drivers receives a chat from the rider, it will be read aloud to them. Drivers can acknowledge receipt with one tap to their app to send a “thumbs up” to their rider. That way, they can stay focused on the road.

Voice anonymisation and the in-app chat feature complies with Uber’s Community Guidelines promoting mutual respect between riders and drivers by securing each identity and preventing either from contacting each other unnecessarily post a trip.

A note on In-App Support
The in-app Help service can be accessed within the Uber app by tapping the menu icon (three bars) in the top left hand corner. Riders can then navigate and tap on the “help” icon, scroll down and report the issue at hand.

In-app Help can be used for some of the below common queries, as well as any other trip related queries:

Incorrect fare / an issue with the trip
Item left in the vehicle
Selection of incorrect payment option
“At Uber we’re happy to improve consumer experience wherever we can, we hope riders and drivers in Ghana enjoy this added privacy benefit,” concludes Lola Kassim

About Uber
Uber’s mission is to help people get a ride at the push of a button - everywhere and for everyone. We started in 2009 to solve a simple problem - how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Six years and over two billion trips later, we’ve started tackling an even greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in our cities by getting more people into fewer cars.

The Uber network is now available in over 600 cities in over 65 countries spanning 6 continents. To request a ride, users must download the free application for Android, iPhone, Blackberry 7, or register for Uber at www.uber.com/go. For questions visit www.uber.com

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