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Uber Accused of Major Lapses in New Delhi Passenger Rape, Casting Doubt on Its Ability to Responsibly Monitor Hiring

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Let’s say you ran a service to facilitate rapes of unaccompanied women by taxi drivers— how would you go about it? You’d have to set up a mobile app that alerts rapists when a women is asking to be taken alone in a car. You won’t have to look into the rapist’s criminal record, or ask him to verify the address he gave you, or show you that he actually owns a driver’s licensee. Because all you’re interested in is to get the maximum number of women raped in the shortest possible time.

Obviously, that was not the intent of the Uber company when it screwed up royally in hiring a potential rapist to represent them as a bona fide New Delhi taxi driver—but they might as well have.

Police in India on Sunday arrested an Uber driver accused of raping a female passenger who had booked a ride home via the car-service app.

The woman told police she had taken an Uber car Friday night, fell asleep in the back seat, and when she woke up the driver was threatening and sexually assaulting her, AP reported.

Police have arrested the accused driver, who is due to appear in a New Delhi court on Monday.

Police investigation has revealed that the Uber driver had to be mindful of the limits of the uber app, which are that when you turn off your and the customer’s phone, you’ve disabled the tracking mechanism, no matter how new-age and cutting-edge it might be.

Uber released a statement saying they were working with police to solve the “terrible crime” and handed over details of the driver, his car and his trip sheet, emphasizing that, as always, safety is “Uber’s highest priority.”

“We work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform, ” the statement went.

Yes, and then the rapist Uber recruited switches off his phone and the entire tracking thing goes bust.

NDTV has listed 5 major lapses on the part of Uber in Delhi rape case:

  • The driver did not undergo the mandatory police verification. The same mobile number was shared between three drivers who drove the car on shifts (much as NY City hack licensees are known to be shared).
  • Uber did not conduct any background check of the driver before he was allowed to drive a taxi in Delhi. His address, provided by Uber, was a fake.
  • The driver did not have a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence, which should be issued by the Delhi Transport Authority. This badge number is mandatory for all drivers of commercial vehicles.
  • There was no mandatory GPS installed in the accused rapist’s car.
  • When Uber recruited the driver, its only viable contact with him was the phone they had given him, with the app pre-installed. As soon as he switched off his phone—he disappeared from their view.

This was the cue for local students who swarmed the New Delhi police headquarters to protest Indian government neglect of preventing sexual violence against women.

Rape incidents in the Indian capital have been riding continually, despite the doubling of prison sentences for rapists, which followed the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young New Delhi woman.

Uber, co-founded by Travis Kalanick, who is Jewish, is valued at $18.2 billion. It is a ride sharing service headquartered in San Francisco, operating in 45 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide. The company relies on a smartphone application to connect between passengers and drivers.

So many potential rapes of lonely women in the middle of the night, so little time.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Annie22

    December 9, 2014 at 12:14 am

    If this
    is ride sharing, no background check, and no assured way of keeping
    in touch with the driver, how is this any safer than hitchhiking?

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