Didi hints at next security upgrade: real-name verification for passengers

2 min read

Ride-hailing giant Didi has hinted at the next possible upgrade to the company’s security features: requiring passengers to register their real names in order to use the platform.

“At-risk users cannot be identified and targeted immediately without a real-name system,” the company wrote on its WeChat account on Tuesday. Didi also said that without such a system there is little recourse for drivers if a passenger refuses to pay for their trip.

In a WeChat poll, the company invited netizens to share their views about whether real-name verification should be applied to passengers. As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, nearly 90% of the 160,000 respondents indicated that they believe the feature should be extended to include the platform’s passengers.

The poll, which opened on Tuesday and will close early next week, also has more than 600 comments and thousands of public “likes.”

Didi has enforced real-name verification for its drivers since 2016, but this is the first time it has hinted at extending the measure to its passengers. Drivers are required to upload their driver license and vehicle registration when applying to use the platform. Nonetheless, unqualified drivers still spring up on the platform with the help of counterfeit licenses and fake IDs, according to Chinese media.

The company insists that drivers and passengers are strictly forbidden to access one another’s personal information. Still, some voters voiced concerns over privacy, worrying that their identities could be leaked or misused by drivers.

Didi created its online discussion platform in November 2018 as part of an initiative allowing the public to provide input on various topics. Past polls have included whether drivers should be able to refuse drunk passengers and if the owners of lost goods should pay fees to reclaim their items.

Following a poll, the company began testing a feature in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen allowing drivers to cancel the trips of drunk passengers should they threaten the safety of the drivers or themselves.

“Users will receive messages which remind them to check if the drivers they meet are consistent with the license information,” a Didi spokesperson told TechNode. All drivers on its platform are required to pass a facial recognition each day before they start picking up passengers.

The company implemented the measure to enhance safety following the murder of 21-year-old flight attendant Li Mingzhu by a Didi driver in May 2018. The incident was followed by another murder in the eastern Chinese coastal city of Wenzhou in August.