A group of eight US Congress Democrats has sent a letter to the CEOs of the country’s biggest ride-sharing services calling for more strict background screening of their drivers, including biometric checks, according to a TechCrunch article by Cat Zakrzewski. The letter was delivered to the heads of Sidecar, Lyft, and Uber.
The letter had neither practical ramifications nor legal consequences, but served as a response to recent reports of sexual assaults from users of these services. The companies have responded to the letter with public statements asserting that their extensive background checks are already more effective than those used by other transportation companies, but as Zakrzeski points out, a biometric check such as a fingerprint scan would help to ensure that individuals couldn’t apply for driving positions under false or assumed names. Curiously, Uber has previously said it would implement biometric background checks in the wake of previous sexual assault allegations, though such an initiative has not yet materialized, or the company is not mentioning it here, at least.
At this point, it almost seems inevitable that biometrics check will be implemented at some point, given how they are making their way into other everyday workplace scenarios. On the other hand, in cases like that of San Francisco’s city workers, such measures are being criticized and actively protested as violations of privacy, and these tensions could be prohibitive when it comes to the kinds of measures these lawmakers are asking for. It’s a fine balance to be struck, and we’re sure to see many more such tightrope acts going forward as the technology advances and proliferates.