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Uber blanks out users’ phone numbers

By James Wanzala | Published Fri, July 13th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 12th 2018 at 22:32 GMT +3

Taxi service provider Uber has announced new privacy changes to its app to make anonymous phone numbers of drivers and passengers.

Starting July 12, drivers and clients will no longer have access to each other’s private phone numbers, the firm announced yesterday.

“Phone anonymisation is a safety precaution, ensuring that the privacy of both driver-partners and riders is considered at all times,” said Loic Amado, general manager for Uber in East Africa.

Uber will now use software to connect calls between a driver and a rider that ensures anonymity of both cellphone numbers.

Drivers in Nairobi will now see the same contact number for each rider that contacts them.

Once a trip comes to an end, riders are encouraged to use Uber’s 24/7 in-app support should they need to reach a driver.

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“The benefit of using our in-app support is two-fold. Riders have access to 24/7 support in the event that they need assistance (no more calling a driver that cannot be reached due to the driver being on the road). Secondly, this change has the added benefit of keeping a formal track record of communication. Uber will have a record of correspondence to assist with a request, for example, in the event of a rider having left an item in a vehicle,” explained Amado.

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