*Attached video: Uber driver attacked in Shaker Heights
(KDVR/NEXSTAR) — Ride-sharing giant Uber is expanding an optional safety feature in more cities across the U.S. including one in Ohio. “Record My Ride” lets both riders and drivers record audio of their ride right on their phones in the event of safety issues. But should you worry about your privacy?
Here’s how it works: riders and drivers can add the safety feature in the app’s Safety Toolkit section. After it’s enabled, the option to “record audio” can be initiated by hitting “start.” Both parties can begin or end a recording at any time during a trip. The feature automatically shuts off after a trip is completed.
Uber says audio files are encrypted and stored on the device of the person who enabled it. The company explains that “no one can listen to the audio — including Uber, the rider or the driver” while the recording is on a device.
Uber does not have access to it unless one of the parties submits an issue and attaches it. Only at this time will the audio file be decrypted and heard by a safety agent for review, Uber says.
But how do you know if a rider or a driver is recording your ride?
“… 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,” said Uber’s Head of Privacy and Security Public Policy Uttara Sivaram.
The audio recording feature is available in more than a dozen countries, and over 70 cities in the U.S., the company says.
“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,” Sivaram said.
A similar video recording feature, which allows drivers to record video from their phone’s front-facing cameras, is also under trial in some cities, according to Uber.
The audio recording pilot feature has been expanded to six cities including Cincinnati, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Tucson, according to Uber.