Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry with its easy-to-use service, but its current features lack options for transgender drivers to identify themselves correctly, which get some of them kicked off the app.
Transgender drivers across the country are finding their accounts either temporarily or permanently suspended due to an Uber security feature that requires drivers to take a selfie to verify their identity. If the photo doesn't come back as a match to other photos on file, it will get flagged.
Janey Webb began transitioning her gender around the time she started working for Uber in October 2017. Since then, her physical appearance has changed quite a bit. For another job that might not be a huge issue, but for Uber drivers a drastic change in appearance raises an algorithmic red flag.
The Uber security feature is called Real-Time ID Check. It was rolled out in September 2016 to "protect both riders and drivers." Occasionally, drivers will be prompted to pull over and take a selfie. That photo is then compared to the drivers' photo on file, using technology from Microsoft Cognitive Services. If the photo isn't a match, the driver's account is temporarily suspended while Uber "looks into the situation."