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As the popular ride-share company continues to grow locally, Uber today launched a six-member advisory board of national experts who will consult with executives and staff on safety issues in the jurisdictions it serves.
Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, told reporters during a press conference call this afternoon that the company will solicit feedback from the board to bolster accountability among its drivers and customers. Though the board hasn’t met in person—which will happen for the first time next week—and the dynamic between its members and Uber staff has yet to play out, Sullivan said the company is “very excited” to bring together a panel of experts, which includes transportation, technology, and law-enforcement professionals.
“Our goal is to make sure [Uber’s city and headquarter] teams are always in constant communication,” he explained. “Safety issues vary by jurisdictions around the world, both in type and severity: road conditions, the quality of cars on the road, the level of training and experience of the drivers who have chosen to drive with Uber. There are many different factors [and] we try to customize our policies to local jurisdictions.”
In D.C., the board’s counsel could relate to anything from traffic safety to alleged sexual assaults by drivers. The company is thinking about security issues “before, during, and after” trips, Sullivan added, citing as an example the fact that riders and drivers share information about each other when one makes a transaction. “We’re not focusing on one specific type of issue,” he said. The inaugural board (below) will meet quarterly.
“If they see something they can pick up the phone and call us,” Sullivan added. “If we have a question before we launch something, they already have a foundation of understanding and can give us feedback.”
- John Barton—Former Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation
- Rob Chesnut—Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Chegg; Former Senior Vice President, Trust and Safety, eBay
- Ed Davis—Former Boston Police Commissioner
- Jessica Eaglin—Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University, Maurer School of Law; Former Counsel, Justice Program, Brennan Center’s Justice at NYU School of Law
- Margaret Richardson—Of Counsel, Covington & Burling; Former Chief of Staff to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
- Cindy Southworth—Executive Vice-President, National Network to End Domestic Violence; Founder of the Safety Net Technology Project; Board Member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters
Photo from Flickr user Adam Fagen