Uber Launches Safety Advisory Board To Tackle Safety & Security Concerns

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt high court will hold a hearing on a recent lawsuit brought against Uberpop by Taxi Deutschland on Tuesday.  San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. The company has faced regulatory scrutiny and court injunctions from its early days, even as it has expanded rapidly into roughly 150 cities around the world.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)
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Uber has announced it will create a permanent global safety advisory board designed to give “critical recommendations and counsel” regarding the safety of passengers and drivers.

In a press release, Uber’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan said: “With over three million trips taking place each day on the Uber platform worldwide, we are focused on doing more. One of our goals for 2015 was to work closely with cities, the public, and external experts to figure out the right ways to tackle the challenges we face as we build technology that allows anyone to push a button and get a ride.

“That’s why we are excited to announce the establishment of the Uber Safety Advisory Board, a group of experts who bring a wealth of expertise and experience spanning several aspects of safety. These advisors will provide critical recommendations and counsel as we continue to develop new methods and technologies that reduce risk and increase safety for riders, drivers, and the public.”

The board is made up of outside experts including:

  • John Barton
    Former Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation
  • Rob Chesnut
    Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Chegg
    Former Senior Vice President, Trust and Safety, eBay
  • Ed Davis
    Former Boston Police Commissioner
  • Jessica Eaglin
    Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University, Maurer School of Law
    Former Counsel, Justice Program, Brennan Center’s Justice at NYU School of Law
  • Margaret Richardson
    Of Counsel, Covington & Burling
    Former Chief of Staff to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Cindy Southworth
    Executive Vice-President, National Network to End Domestic Violence
    Founder of the Safety Net Technology Project
    Board Member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelterss

Uber has faced no shortage of safety and security challenges over the last 12 months. In the US, Californian prosecutors found 25 Uber driver had evaded background checks despite having serious criminal convictions-including murder and sexual assualt. In Sydney, an Uber driver sexually assaulted a woman in Kings Cross,  Uber argued although the driver was a contractor for the business “this was not a ridesharing trip but a ride accepted on the street and not through an app.”

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