US Congress members called mobile taxi apps firms such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to use fingerprint checks to verify the backgrounds of their taxi drivers.
The petition comes following controversies involving alleged assaults by mobile taxi firms’ drivers in the US and in India.
US congress members are aware that the companies conduct private background checks when vetting potential drivers. However, they think that additional steps to increase customer safety should be implemented.
Currently, state-regulated taxi cab companies are already required to use fingerprint-based background checks.
Thereby, Uber has announced recently that the firm will use biometrics to verify drivers’ identities, following a string of controversies involving alleged assaults by its drivers.
Phillip Cardenas, the company’s global safety leader, confirmed that his team was initiating research and development on biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening.
In addition, nationwide firm Meru Cabs revealed plans to launch mobile biometric verification of drivers’ identities.
The firm has been able to deploy a simple app on Android phones integrated to a fingerprint scanner or to an iris scanner which connects to the Aadhaar database, with an open API to verify if the Aadhaar number belongs to the same person.
Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India. The number is stored in a centralized database and linked to basic demographics and biometric information of each individual. It is easy to check online.