Uber passengers will soon have to prove that they are wearing a mouth mask before getting into the car. This proof must be provided by taking a selfie, where the Uber app recognizes whether the nose and mouth are covered.
The duty to demonstrate that someone is wearing a mouth mask does not apply to everyone, but (initially) only to people who have previously been reported for not wearing a mask.
According to the BBC, the feature will be launched in the United States and Canada in late September. Other regions are likely to follow after that.
The technology for such a ‘face mask selfie’ has been around for some time: Uber drivers had to prove that they wear a cap before they start working. If the app does not detect a mask, drivers will not be able to unlock their Uber app and therefore will not be able to pick up passengers.
According to Uber, when scanning the mouth mask, there is no facial recognition – the software would only see if the mouth and nose are covered. The company keeps the photos for 96 hours in the event of a disagreement, and then permanently deleted.
In mid-May, Uber started tightening the rules around the coronavirus. For example, both drivers and passengers can cancel a trip free of charge if one of the parties is not wearing a mouth mask.