Uber’s dismal legal history continues to haunt it, albeit, at different coordinates on globe. After facing bans, illegal statuses in the west, Uber is now involved in a rather serious crime in New Delhi. A Uber driver has been arrested for sexually assaulting a 27 year old woman passenger and company’s sheer negligence in monitoring the activities of its driver have snowballed this issue into a country-wide protest.
While the company has preferred to remain silent on the incident, residents of the capital have raised their voice against the operating procedures and systems in place at the cab service provider. A probe into the incident has revealed that Uber has been grossly negligent and shockingly inefficient in the measures adopted by it in ensuring the safety of its customers (especially women, who avail their services at night).
It has been found that the accused, Shiv Kumar Yadav was not subject to a background verification check by the company and did not possess a driving license issued by the Delhi Transport Authority, which is a statutory requirement for driving cabs in the capital of the country.
Uber has been specially negligent of the license law in almost every market it is operating right now. Thailand authorities termed the company “illegal” due to non-availability of commercial licenses with its drivers. Portland also banned the company due to a similar reason, though Uber never respected that ban and kept its services operational.
Also, there was no GPS in place and the only way to establish a connection with the cab was merely through an application that was installed on the cab driver’s phone. All these clearly point out the poorly crafted mechanisms adopted by the service provider of international recognition and are the only ones to be blamed for yet another shameful incident of the country.
In what could have in other circumstances, been an incident that could have been avoided way before it had been executed, through well –placed controls and effective use of the technology in the best possible manner, it is a shame that such a company of international recognition even failed to maintain records of the cab drivers employed by it !
It is accepted that a back ground verification would not exclusively wipe out all chances of a well planned rape, but the lack of installation of a GPS Tracking system and the compliance of complete statutory requirements mandatory for operations cannot be accepted, especially in a country like ours where ‘women safety’ is the need of the hour.
An efficient hiring process and much more importantly a well crafted transparent and innovative mechanism with minimal loopholes to plug in women safety from all aspects is to be considered. Comapanies like Uber, has to realize the face that unlike its operations in other countries, ours is not the one where a person can be tracked by his Date of Birth or basic details. With the advent of Smart Phones and new SOS Applications available, and the already existing GPS systems , the entire itinerary of the route undertaken by the cab driver can be monitored and any deviations can be quickly identified and addressed to. The mechanism should also be in such a way that any relapse at any point of time can be easily identified and addressed to and the person responsible for the same can be easily identified.
Irrespective of the best enabled technology and software adapted, a more serious question still remains about the moral and social obligations the entire work staff of the organization are instilled with. The sound mechanisms in place could still be disrupted by human interventions until and unless the ‘we’ are safe and sound.
Here’s how twitterati has been reacting to the same :