Uber Eats 'racist' facial identification

February 2021
Updated: December 2021

A WIRED investigation reveals couriers and drivers working for Uber Eats and Uber in the UK claim they are being unfairly victimised by a 'racist' facial identification system used by the company.

A number of BAME workers allege that Uber's Real-Time ID Check system, which is supplied by Microsoft, failed to recognise who they are and had their access blocked to Uber's platform, have been summarily fired, or lost job benefits.

In addition, the workers say they have little or no ability to appeal, and that those that were able to make their case were summarily rejected.

The allegations has led unions to call for UK authorities to clamp down on Uber and other gig economy players through substantive regulation.

Operator: Uber

Developer: Microsoft
Country: UK

Sector: Transport/logistics

Purpose: Verify rider identity

Technology: Facial identification

Issue: Bias/discrimination - race; Accuracy/reliability; Employment - pay, jobs
Opacity: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals