An Iowa Uber driver who is transgender was required to travel two hours to a local Uber office after a facial-recognition security feature was unable to confirm her identity, CNBC reports. Uber says such issues can often be resolved with a simple phone call, but for Janey Webb, the driver in question, the issue meant she missed out on about three days of work, including a potentially lucrative July 4.
And, according to CNBC, the problem isn’t limited to her. “I don’t think Uber is this evil company,” said Lindsay, another driver who was suspended for photo inconsistencies. “Yeah, their focus is on profit, and one of those things is automating as much as possible, and when you have a system that is so overly automated, people like myself fall within the cracks.”
An Uber spokesperson defended the company’s policies in an email to Fast Company. “We want Uber to be a welcoming, safe, and respectful experience for all who use the app,” the spokesperson wrote. “That’s why we maintain clear Community Guidelines and a non-discrimination policy for riders and drivers, in addition to many safety features. We continue to focus on ways to advance our tech and constantly improve our app experience.”
The feature in question, called Real-Time ID Check, is designed to reduce fraud by periodically prompting drivers to submit selfies to Uber before they begin a driving session. The company uses Microsoft Azure’s Cognitive Services technology to match the selfie to photos on file, it says.
“During our pilot of Real-Time ID Check over the past few months, the…