Deliveroo to trial controversial facial recognition tech to vet riders

Deliveroo is set to begin using controversial facial recognition technology to ensure “every rider who works with Deliveroo… meets all the requirements to do so”.

Deliveroo is launching a trial of the technology this month, which will require some riders to upload a selfie then take subsequent photos of themselves while using the app throughout the day, The Grocer reported.

It is understood that the trial is designed to clamp down on account sharing, in which riders rent or sell their account to unvetted substitutes.

In 2019, the Sunday Times reported that both Deliveroo and Uber Eats riders were trading their jobs to alleged illegal immigrants who had not undergone criminal record, insurance, right to work in the UK or passport checks.

READ MORE: Waitrose creates 400 jobs as it expands Deliveroo partnership to 150 UK stores

While riders are allowed to appoint a substitute rider to deliver on their behalf, Deliveroo requires riders to ensure their substitutes have the right to work in the UK, a valid license, insurance and no unspent criminal convictions.

According to the Sunday Times investigation, accounts were being offered for rent or sale daily on various riders Facebook and WhatsApp groups, some going for as much as £100 a week.

Uber introduced its own “Real Time ID Check” technology with Uber Eats riders in April last year, which also required them to take selfies throughout the day to crosscheck against a photo stored in its database.

However, according to Wired, more than a dozen riders provided evidence that the technology failed to recognise their faces, with many branding it “racist”.

This led to numerous riders being wrongly threatened with termination, having their accounts frozen or being fired permanently from the platform.

In 2018 a similar version of the facial recognition software used by Uber, created by Microsoft, was found to have a 20.8 per cent failure rate for darker skinned female faces, and a six per cent failure rate for darker skinned male faces.

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