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The Uber safety rules

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Following a recent incident where a woman was raped when climbing into the wrong car after ordering an Uber ride, the organisation has issued these safety guidelines.

Uber is committed to the safety of everyone that uses the app, riders and driver-partners alike. This is why Uber strives to constantly better our safety features and offer these safety features in-app, the world over. These features have been developed to ensure safety before, during, and after every ride and Uber urges riders to make use of these for their own security.

Know your driver

The Uber app provides riders with the details of their driver-partner as soon as a rider accepts a trip. Riders need to use this information to verify their driver-partner is indeed the same driver-partner that accepted their request via the app. Riders should check the driver’s name and photo, vehicle type and license plate number. This feature ensures riders get in the correct vehicle with the correct driver-partner.

Track the trip

Riders should make use of Uber’s GPS features that allows them to track a trip by viewing the route on the map in the app. From the minute a ride is requested, the rider is able to track the vehicle on the way to pick them up. In addition to ensuring one gets into the correct vehicle, the GPS features allow riders to know exactly where they are headed and that they’re on the right track. Uber also uses GPS to keep a record of where a driver-partner goes during the ride, meaning Uber can verify that the most efficient routes are being used. Uber also recently introduced a new feature called Family Profiles, which allows up to 10 riders to safely and easily share one card as a payment method.

Share your ETA

As an additional security feature, riders are encouraged to share their ETA (estimated time of arrival) and location with a friend or loved one. This is easily done via the app and can be shared with anyone – without the friend or family member ever needing to download the Uber app themselves. Using this feature means a rider can share their destination and route for peace of mind. Friends or family will receive a link where they can see in real time, the name and photo of the driver-partner, their vehicle, and where are on the map the rider is, until they’ve arrived at their destination.

24/7 support

Uber offers 24/7 support. Uber’s customer support staff are ready to assist with queries, whether it be an inefficient route or a traffic accident. Riders can contact the support team at any time of the day, on any day of the week.

Feedback

Riders and driver-partners rate each other after each and every trip. This allows riders to see their driver-partners current rating prior to getting into the vehicle, and allows Uber to query any negative feedback. This feedback helps driver-partners keep standards high and helps Uber address any concerns.

Uber provides the below top safety tips for riders to make sure their trips are as secure as possible:

  • Verify your driver-partner and vehicle before getting into the car, using the in app information
  • Share your ETA and location with a friend or family member
  • Charge your phone – having a charged phone ensures you can see your driver’s details and track your trip while on the ride. If you know you cell phone is likely to die on the trip, Uber recommends you use a friend or family member’s phone to login to your Uber account to get your driver’s information and then share your ETA with a friend of loved one
  • Don’t unnecessarily share your details, Uber has implemented an anonymous contact system to ensure riders and driver-partners don’t need to share their personal information. Riders and drivers can contact each other at any time through the app.
  • Always provide detailed feedback after your trip to keep Uber updated

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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