Uber will soon record audio during rides... for safety

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Uber is reportedly planning to pilot a new feature in some Latin American cities next month that’ll record audio during rides in an effort to promote a safer environment.

The Washington Post first learned of the controversial feature, which is eventually destined for the US, via internal Uber communications. The ridesharing company has since confirmed the plans with the publication.

According to The Post, the feature would be opt-in and allow users to activate an audio recording during any or all trips. Neither the driver nor the rider would be able to listen back to the recording, the report notes. The encrypted audio file would only be for the ears of Uber customer support agents who would use it to better understand what transpired in the event of an incident.

Given the current landscape regarding privacy concerns, it would seem like a risky move for Uber. Furthermore, many regions have strict laws regarding wiretapping and eavesdropping – how does Uber plan to circumvent those? What happens if Uber later decides to somehow monetize this data?

Uber has been doing a lot lately to enhance the safety of both its drivers and riders. In September, for example, the company rolled out a feature called RideCheck that uses your smartphone’s various sensors to detect potential crashes, sudden stops and even unusual or unexpected routes.

Smartphone recording by ninefotostudio

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Hexic

TS Evangelist
I won’t Uber if the service will end up recording me one day, and I don’t think a lot of people will either.

This is how you lose market dominance.
 
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Ravalo

TS Booster
Wow, you can’t talk about the new misfits podcast with the uber driver without someone recording you ._.
 
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hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
I live in a city with less than half a million people. Our city buses and cabs have cameras and microphones. I've yet to hear anyone complain let alone mention them in any kind of negative way. In fact, the only time I've been reminded they are even there, is when a passenger acts the fool and the video is shown on the news. Guess why cabs have cameras now? Because cab drivers were getting robbed and killed.

But who cares right? What matters is who is making money off your data!

You people are literally afraid of everything. And you go looking for it at that! Makes no sense. Video and audio is always being recorded. ADAPT!
Fml.
 
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Eldritch

TS Maniac
I live in a city with less than half a million people. Our city buses and cabs have cameras and microphones. I've yet to hear anyone complain let alone mention them in any kind of negative way. In fact, the only time I've been reminded they are even there, is when a passenger acts the fool and the video is shown on the news. Guess why cabs have cameras now? Because cab drivers were getting robbed and killed.

But who cares right? What matters is who is making money off your data!

You people are literally afraid of everything. And you go looking for it at that! Makes no sense. Video and audio is always being recorded. ADAPT!
Fml.
Slippery slope. Google it.
Data collection always starts this way, optional and user activated.
Slowly, user activation option is removed in the name of 'Simplification and Streamlining of Interface™'. Only opt in toggle remains.
At some point, citing 'User safety concerns' the toggle is also removed. Now as soon as you enter cab and give OTP, the automatic recording starts.
At some point in future, the conversation data is put through speech analysis and sorted through ML AI and sold for targeted advertisers or far far worse (like bounty hunters!) like most carriers are doing for years.
Also, I am bit amused by how easily you said :
'What matters who is making money from your data'
It matters a whole damn lot. Also, not posting to mass media is one thing but do we need to not open our mouth to avoid data collection? Terrible ideas like Amazon having the key to your home and Uber recording your conversations belong to garbage bin.
 
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hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
Slippery slope. Google it.
Data collection always starts this way, optional and user activated.
Slowly, user activation option is removed in the name of 'Simplification and Streamlining of Interface™'. Only opt in toggle remains.
At some point, citing 'User safety concerns' the toggle is also removed. Now as soon as you enter cab and give OTP, the automatic recording starts.
At some point in future, the conversation data is put through speech analysis and sorted through ML AI and sold for targeted advertisers or far far worse (like bounty hunters!) like most carriers are doing for years.
Also, I am bit amused by how easily you said :
'What matters who is making money from your data'
It matters a whole damn lot. Also, not posting to mass media is one thing but do we need to not open our mouth to avoid data collection? Terrible ideas like Amazon having the key to your home and Uber recording your conversations belong to garbage bin.
Your data is ALWAYS being collected. And conspiracy theorists are as common as air molecules. They guess in the hopes they're right to get likes. That's it. Let the people that are paid to find wrongdoings CONFIRM and EXPOSE the conspiracies, not couch commanders.

A large amount of comments made online by couch commanders are one sentence long and contain no substance, let alone credible source links. It's annoying and is a COMPLETE waste off time and keystrokes to the majority.

It's the internet. Just because you can voice your opinion, doesn't make it worth reading. Especially when it's the same theories every day. Copy and paste. Yawn. Give it a rest already.
 
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Hexic

TS Evangelist
I live in a city with less than half a million people. Our city buses and cabs have cameras and microphones. I've yet to hear anyone complain let alone mention them in any kind of negative way. In fact, the only time I've been reminded they are even there, is when a passenger acts the fool and the video is shown on the news. Guess why cabs have cameras now? Because cab drivers were getting robbed and killed.

But who cares right? What matters is who is making money off your data!

You people are literally afraid of everything. And you go looking for it at that! Makes no sense. Video and audio is always being recorded. ADAPT!
Fml.
So your logic is, if the city does it - it doesn’t make a difference if a private company does? That doesn’t make any sense. Cities have had cameras on their public transit systems for a long time, that’s a comparison that you can’t make here.

Not sure how you value privacy, but the assumption that a widespread deployment of private (or public, foundationally - such as England) surveillance isn’t any different than the current condensed, smaller scale deployment in the end result is naivety.

Eldritch is correct. You give any entity an inch in these circumstances, and they’ll take a mile. Even if it takes them 15 years, your sign-off began the process.
 
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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
I live in a city with less than half a million people. Our city buses and cabs have cameras and microphones. I've yet to hear anyone complain let alone mention them in any kind of negative way. In fact, the only time I've been reminded they are even there, is when a passenger acts the fool and the video is shown on the news. Guess why cabs have cameras now? Because cab drivers were getting robbed and killed.

But who cares right? What matters is who is making money off your data!

You people are literally afraid of everything. And you go looking for it at that! Makes no sense. Video and audio is always being recorded. ADAPT!
Fml.
The difference is most do not record audio.

Most states are what is called "two party consent" states when it comes to audio recording - both the recorder and recordee must consent to the audio recording taking place. This is done to allow the prosecution of illegal wire tapping.

Now, Uber can get around this fairly easily - they just update the EULA to say 'you may be recorded and give us permission to listen to these recordings by agreeing to the terms of this app'. Now the driver and all passengers involved have given consent to record and be recorded by one another.

All that said, I am now uninstalling Uber because this is not a practice that I want to support as a part of any private business.
 
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Panamapatrick

TS Rookie
I have a teenage daughter attending University in Panama City, Panama. She has some evening/night classes and she always uses Uber as it is much safer and this new recording of oral conversations will only improve on the security of the riders. Those who advocate that this should not be allowed on the basis of a privacy issue are loco. Do they really expect top-secret or intimate conversations to take place in an Uber surrounding? Also, Latino cultures are different than in North American cultures. Latino's say expressions or words, sexual in nature, that some Latina women like and some dislike immensely (getting to be more the rule). I have lived in a Latino country for the past 25 years so this is what I have learned. Most Latino men mean no harm by it but I still wouldn't want my daughter subject to it.
 

Yynxs

TS Addict
You can't get through to these people that agree to paying someone to take away their privacy.

I see the extrapolation clearly. There are already microphones installed. No reason not to listen to both sides of cell phone conversations.

Anyone remember the 'Cone of Silence'. Next you'll be paying extra to be "allowed" to have telephone privacy while you're traveling. But that 'privacy' is subject to law enforcement sub poena of course. No hearsay now. "We have the recording."

Mark it down.
 
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Markoni35

TS Maniac
Of course they will. Every corporation, not just NSA, not just Google, will collect all the audio and video data they can. And if they aren't doing it yet, just wait for the next management.
 
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