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There’s Already a Petition to Save Uber in London

Following the blockbuster news on Friday that Uber would lose its operating license in London, fans of the ride-hailing company signed on to a petition to Mayor Sadiq Khan to keep the service in the city.

A petition on Change.org says that the decision by Transport for London, the city’s transportation authority, satisfied a small number of people” while putting “more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work” and depriving a “convenient and affordable form of transport” to millions of Londoners.

Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, initially appeared as the petition’s creator, but a change Friday afternoon switched the author to “Uber London.” Uber did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment on the authenticity and origin of the petition, but its language mirrors a statement Elvidge issued after the TfL decision.

By 3 p.m. BST on Friday the petition had received nearly 70,000 signatures, at one point gaining more than 25,000 in a 20-minute span.

Read More: Uber Just Lost Its License in London

The TfL announced earlier in the day that it had decided to effectively ban Uber in London after determining that the company “is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.” The company’s current license expires at the end of September.

In making its decision, the authority that regulates London’s taxis cited Uber’s inadequate screening and background checks of drivers, its “approach to how medical certificates are obtained,” and the use of its controversial “Greyball” software that blocks regulators from gaining full access to the app. The TfL also—rather damningly—questioned Uber’s “approach to reporting serious criminal offenses” by its drivers—an issue raised in an extensive submission by the Metropolitan Police.

Uber says it plans to appeal the decision, and it will be able to operate in London during that lengthy process.

The charge.org petition says it will ask Khan to reverse the decision, but on Friday the London mayor backed the TfL.

Read More: HPE’s Meg Whitman Won’t Be Uber’s CEO. But She Could Be the First Female President

“Any operator of private hire services in London needs to play by the rules,” he said. “I fully support TfL’s decision—it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security,” he said.

The petition argues that Uber drivers are licensed by the TfL and have undergone the same “enhanced background checks” as their rival black cab drivers.

“This ban shows the world that London is far from being open and is closed to innovative companies, who bring choice to consumers and work opportunities to those who need them,” the petition says.

Tech

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Man Claims Uber Laughed at Him When He Tried to Report Sexual Assault 

A New York man says he was laughed at by an operator at Uber’s emergency hotline after reporting that he was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver this month. The operator later hung up after refusing to refer the man to her manager. The driver has since been banned from the platform.

Read more…


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Uber drivers will verify their identities through selfies

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From now on, Uber drivers will start their shifts with selfies. 

The ride-hailing company is expanding its Real-Time ID Check feature across the US, it announced in a blog post Friday. Drivers submit a selfie through the app to ensure the person driving the car matches Uber’s account on file. 

The feature doesn’t connect to a background check or do anything else to ensure the underlying safety of Uber drivers. Instead, it just checks that the person in the car is the same one Uber has on file. 

Drivers will be asked periodically to submit selfies before accepting rides, Uber said. The company uses Microsoft’s Cognitive Services API to compare the photo to one it has. If the photos don’t match, a driver’s account will be temporarily blocked.  Read more…

More about Microsoft, Uber Drivers, Selfies, Uber, and Business


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