Uber to Conduct Safety Review After Rape Allegations

What that means exactly is still in question, but fingerprinting could be one of those changes.

A safety review is in the works for Uber following allegations of rape and assault on a passenger by a driver.

The company has already announced changes for 2015, including tweaks to its highly criticized procedure for conducting background checks. What the changes will exactly be is still in question, but fingerprinting could be one new measure. For now, however, Uber is only providing a "road map for change" on its website.

One local Uber user, Lisa McKnight, said she's more aware of the risks involved in the convenience of an Uber car, when before she was just excited to use the new service.

But after the rape allegations in Boston, she says she'd rather take a cab.

Another Uber driver also recently faced vehicular manslaughter charges after hitting a 6-year-old girl while allegedly talking on a cell phone.

"I haven't had a bad experience with Uber," McKnight said. "But I would prefer a taxi just for that reason alone."

The company is apparently reevaluating things too.

In a blog titled "Our Commitment to Safety," Uber says they're looking into ways to build new programs and enhance others - biometrics and voice verification, for example.

While voice verification might create a peace of mind, it still doesn't verify the identity of the driver or the passenger, Deputy Director of Digital Forensics Incorporated James Kitt said.

"With a background investigation, I can provide all the documents to tell you I'm somebody else," Kitt said. "With fingerprints, I can't do that, and it's going through an agency that can verify that."

McKnight said drivers should absolutely be fingerprinted because it's easy to bypass a lot of screenings without the certainty of prints.

While Uber's blog said it will work on building safety response teams, partner with experts and act on recommendations from drivers, it doesn't give any examples of actual actions being taken, Kitt points out.

"They're not really telling us what they are looking to do," he said. The company's willingness to invest research, time and money into addressing the concerns is not just a good thing, but a move necessary to stay in business, Kitt added.

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