Uber's New ‘Cross Streets’ Feature Protects Rider Privacy

Uber has today announced the launch of a new feature the company calls ‘cross streets’. This is a feature designed to add an extra element of safety and privacy to those who use the ride hailing service. Cross streets offers users the option to forgo the Uber driver knowing their exact address or location. Instead, the user is able to set up a nearby cross street or junction as their dedicated pick up point. Or of course, as a dedicated drop off point if the rider is en route to their home address.

According to the Uber announcement, the feature had already been in testing for some time as Uber now confirms that it is becoming available in “every city across the US.” The feature is accessible through the Uber app and to take advantage of it, the user simply has to input two different street names as their pick up location. At which point the system should be able to identify the exact cross section. If it doesn't however, Uber explains that the user can just enter their actual address and then move the cursor to the requested cross section. In either case, the driver will be directed to the cross streets and will be unaware of the rider’s exact location or home/work address. Or for any address for that matter, as the logic behind this service is that wherever you are going (party, doctor’s appointment, meeting), you can keep those details from being known by the person driving you there.

Uber has been under heavy criticism of late, and has also had to defend it stance on privacy before. So while this is a user-oriented feature, the company took today’s announcement to reiterate that this is not the only way in which Uber is protecting the privacy of its users. While cross streets ensures a user’s destination or location are not known, the company notes that the same is already in place for aspects like phone numbers. Instead of providing a driver with a contact number, the app acts as a privacy point connecting the two by phone, without revealing the phone number to either party. Likewise, Uber notes that if a complaint is ever made against a driver, the driver is never told of the source of the complaint. Back to cross streets though, you can see an example of how the new feature looks and works below.

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