Uber Offers Help in Contact Tracing

Uber Offers Help in Contact Tracing

Recently Uber Technologies has launched a service in order to give public health officials quick access to data on drivers and riders presumed to have come in contact with someone who is infected with the deadly virus.

The service, which is offered free of charge could eventually help to create a better image of the ride hailing company. The company has also launched a new ad campaign mentioning its ‘No Mask, No Ride’ policy in the United States.

The officials from the organization, said information on an individual can be accessed within a few hours. The officials also added, Uber is seriously considering COVID-19 an emergency, that involves dangers of serious physical injury and death.

Although the ride hailing app has provided the data for months now, however it hasn’t been put to use in most of the hotspots of the country.

Unlike many other countries, the U.S. has no federal programs or mobile applications in order to trace the contacts of people who are infected with the Coronavirus, a measure which is deemed crucial by the World Health Organization when it comes to fighting the pandemic.

Uber has long provided data to the U.S. law enforcement officials, in case of emergencies or criminal investigations. However, it started to focus on health related issues in 2019, when U.S. Measles reappeared. Back in January few Uber officials flew to Los Angeles in order to meet local health department officials to discuss how Uber’s data could be best used.

“Our timing ended up being beneficial in that it allowed us to get ahead before COVID started ramping up globally,” said Mike Sullivan, a veteran U.S. prosecutor who leads a team of 100 Uber employees handling data requests around the clock.  The company officials also said, it received as much as 560 coronavirus-related requests from public health departments in 29 countries, most of which were processed by the company within two hours.

“We want to make sure that they are the experts and we follow their recommendations” on whether to block temporarily a driver, rider or courier from using Uber’s service, Sullivan said. Uber customers with a confirmed infection are automatically blocked from the platform for at least 14 days.

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