Didi Chuxing, China’s largest online car-hailing platform, launched an in-car audio recording function on its app Saturday as part of improved safety measures in the wake of the murders of two female passengers by drivers since May.
Passengers receive a message asking if they agree to the activation of in-car audio recording for safety reasons, and will only be allowed to continue to order a car if they click the “agree” button. If they fail to agree, the order will be canceled.
The message says the recording will be running on the driver’s device during each trip and used as evidence in dealing with complaints and bad reviews. The recordings will be encrypted to protect the privacy of drivers and passengers, and will be automatically deleted after seven days if no disputes arise during that time.
Zhu Wei, an associate professor of law at the China University of Political Science and Law, said the new function will help upgrade Didi’s entire safety system and solve many disputes about services.
“When the safety system is complete, it won’t just help solve murder cases but also arguments or conflicts, such as if the driver made a detour, had a bad attitude, or if the driver made inappropriate comments or engaged in other forms of harassment. The recording will play a crucial role,” Zhu said.
However, the new function has received mixed reviews online. Some netizens believe it will prevent drivers from using vulgar words to passengers — which would be effective when dealing with harassment, but would be unable to prevent a murder. Others express concerns about the invasion of personal privacy.
“Even though voice recording cannot guarantee zero harm or danger, it can act as a deterrent to crime because it is linked directly to the police,” Zhu said. (China Daily)