Uber expands in-app audio recording safety feature to Wyoming Cities

Rider recording audio with Uber
Rider recording audio with Uber(Uber)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:09 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) - Uber has announced a new safety feature in the Wyoming area. Uber sent out this information regarding the feature. It reads as follows:

- Beginning this week, Uber is starting to expand an in-app safety feature that will allow drivers and riders in the Cheyenne area, including Scottsbluff, Casper, and Riverton, to record audio during trips. Since December 2021, we’ve been piloting this feature in select cities across the US. The Cheyenne area is one of several regions that this feature is expanding to.

Drivers and riders can set up the feature in the Safety Toolkit in the app. 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. “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.” 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. “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.” Originally launched in Latin America in 2019, the audio recording feature is currently live in more than a dozen countries, and over 70 cities in the US.

We’ve seen many instances where the audio file has helped determine the best course of action after a safety incident, and the majority of riders and drivers in the pilot cities told us this feature helped them feel safer when using Uber. Beginning this week, some riders and drivers in the area will begin to see the feature in the Safety Toolkit. In the coming days, the feature will be available to all riders and drivers, and active users will receive an email informing them about this new feature.

You can learn more about how it works and get answers to common questions on the Audio Recording information page.