Uber to test letting riders record trip chats

<i>Image: NDTV</i>
<i>Image: NDTV</i>

San Francisco - Uber said Wednesday plans to test a safety feature that lets passengers and drivers record their conversations and share them with the rideshare service.

A test run of the option is planned to start next month in Brazil and Mexico, with the potential to expand it beyond those countries.

"If necessary, this tool can help give us more clarity about what happened inside the vehicle on a trip," Uber global security products director Sachin Kansal said in an online post.

The move comes amid rising concerns over safety and reports of assaults and harassment in rideshare vehicles.

Recording conversations could help determine facts in a dispute, but could also raise issues around privacy.

Audio recorded using the feature in the Uber smartphone app is encrypted and left on the handset, where remains unless a rider or driver decides to share it with the California-based company, according to Sachin.

At the end of a trip, the Uber app will query whether there was a problem during the ride and a person wants to send the audio file.

The audio can't be replayed by riders or drivers, according to the company. Uber has software "keys" to unlock encrypted audio that it is given.

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