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Chinese Ride-Hailing Service Takes Passenger Audio Recordings

Chinese Ride-Hailing Service Takes Passenger Audio Recordings
Jackie Reddy

Didi Chuxing, the nation’s largest ride-hailing service, has announced that it is now taking audio recordings of its passengers. This announcement comes in the wake of two murders and has sparked a conversation among passengers over ensuring personal safety versus the need for individual privacy.

In an effort to improve passenger safety, Business Insider has revealed that Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ride-hailing service, has commenced making recordings of in-car audio during customer journeys. This apparent safety feature was rolled-out across Didi Hitch, one of the service’s platforms, on Saturday.

According to the outlet, the platform “asks users for a one-time authorization to create a voice recording for the duration of their rides before they’re able to book a car. If they decline, the booking cannot be completed.”

“A message on the app says recording is done on the driver’s phone, and recordings will be uploaded to the company’s servers as an encrypted file only accessible by Didi or law-enforcement. According to the message, the recording will be used as evidence in dealing with complaints or bad reviews, and will be automatically deleted within seven days if a complaint is not filed,” the outlet reports.

This safety feature has been implemented in the wake of two murders that have occurred among users of the service within recent months.

While these latest measures are intended to help ensure passenger safety, there are concerns that these recordings are a violation of personal privacy. The topic is timely; Didi’s measures come just as China has revealed plans for what it calls a “social credit system,” something that would see citizens essentially ranked by their monitored behavior.

“This is sacrificing privacy for safety. Why can’t [Didi] let passengers make their own choice?,” one Weibo user wrote, as quoted by Sixth Tone.

“We can’t talk about work and life during a journey after this. I feel that both the driver and passenger are being monitored,” Global Times quoted another passenger as saying.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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