HOW IT WORKS
After both parties have enabled AudioProtect, passengers will see “AudioProtect: On” in the app to indicate that recording has commenced once their ride begins.
If a passenger picks up a phone call, the recording will be paused. It will resume automatically after the call ends. However, the recording may continue on the driver’s device.
Once AudioProtect is activated, all future rides will be recorded if the passenger or driver-partner has also enabled the feature. The feature can be disabled using the same steps, anytime before a ride starts.
If AudioProtect is disabled after a ride has already started, the ride will still be recorded for safety purposes. The feature will then be disabled for any future rides.
NO ACCESS TO RECORDINGS BY PASSENGERS, DRIVER-PARTNERS
To ensure the privacy of users, recorded audio files are encrypted and stored on their devices for a maximum of five days before being automatically deleted if no safety-related incident is reported, said Grab.
“The files cannot be accessed by either passenger or driver, and will only be accessed by Grab’s safety team if a safety-related incident occurs.”
If such an incident is reported within the five-day period, the recording will be uploaded to Grab’s secure servers for investigation, the company added.
These files will be “securely stored” for six months, then automatically deleted from Grab’s servers permanently. This six-month period may be extended if the investigation is prolonged.
The review of the recording will be conducted by approved and trained members from the safety team, added Grab.
“AudioProtect was designed to provide users with more peace of mind when they travel on Grab rides by proactively deterring in-person safety incidents from happening while enroute. At the same time, it also allows Grab to resolve safety incidents more quickly by relying on recordings to get the full picture,” said the company.
“Safety incidents that would be investigated include accidents and instances of verbal, physical, and sexual harassment and/or abuse.”
OTHER SAFETY FEATURES
The AudioProtect announcement comes just after International Women’s Day on Mar 8, where Grab noted in an online campaign that more than 99.99 per cent of its rides occurred without any incidents, based on the company’s 2021 ESG Report.
“To us, this is a huge deal because it means that women can feel safe, even while travelling alone,” said Grab.
The company also has other existing safety features, available pre-ride, during the ride and post-ride.
Before every ride, for instance, real-time selfie verification is required for driver-partners at login to ensure only registered driver-partners can accept bookings via the Grab app. It also allows Grab to identify users who may be sharing or renting accounts.
To protect driver-partners against passenger-caused crimes, such as verbal or physical abuse, passengers are verified through bank card or selfie authentification, said Grab.
Additionally, all rides are equipped with a Safety Centre button displayed in the middle of the screen. The features under this button include Share My Ride and an SOS button.
While the Share My Ride function allows users to share their ride details with their loved ones so their whereabouts are known throughout the ride, the SOS button is an “emergency hotline to contact police or an ambulance”. The button also “triggers a message to the user’s pre-saved emergency contacts,” said Grab.