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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.

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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.

“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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