Friday 22 November 2019 2:15 pm

Uber 'under pressure to collect driver biometrics' to secure London licence

Uber could be forced into providing the biometric data of its drivers in order to continue operating in London, according to a report.

The ride-hailing firm’s licence expires on Monday after it was awarded a short temporary permit to continue operating back in September.

Read more: Uber awaits fate with London licence set to expire in just days

However, Uber may need to agree to provide scans of drivers’ fingerprints or faces in order to reach an agreement with Transport for London (TfL) this weekend, sources told technology outlet Wired.

A document from the London mayor’s office seen by the publication allegedly revealed the requirements set to be imposed on Uber.

It includes ways of confirming the driver using the app is registered and licenced to do so by TfL

However it could also include the collection of biometric data, although Uber does not currently use this technology anywhere else.

The emphasis on drivers is to ensure the person driving the Uber vehicle is who they say are in case they are pulled over and to stop people sharing logins and allowing drivers who have not be vetted to take the wheel.

It comes in a bid to ensure passenger safety following the termination of its permit in 2017 after TfL concluded it was “not fit and proper” to hold a licence.

Under the new terms and conditions, TfL has demanded Uber implement “appropriate security protocols to avoid drivers tampering with the app, or other Uber systems, in a manner that could put the safety, security and comfort of passengers at risk”.

Read more: Uber is behind a sharp rise in pollution in London

A representative for Uber drivers at the Independent Workers of Great Britain union, James Farrar, told Wired the proposition was “disproportionate and discriminatory” and would make cab drivers the “most surveilled” workforce in London.

However, TfL could compromise at additional passwords or codes similar to those used in mobile banking.

Uber declined to comment, while TfL did not respond to request for comment.

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