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Uber demands access to government database in Egypt

The Communications Committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives on Monday discussed how ride-sharing services can utilize technology to provide greater security, following the spree of incidents involving Uber drivers in Egypt.

The Egyptian news website Vetogate reported that the committee reviewed and discussed demands by the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations in North Africa Ahmed Ali for Uber to grant the company access to government database to verify the criminal status of drivers collaborating with the company.

Ali said: “The committee, at its meeting in March, recommended that the company check the criminal status of the drivers, but we were unable to implement the recommendation due to lack of an official database that we can access to verify their data.”

Representative Amr Darwish warned that Uber’s request to access the citizen database violates national security, adding: “If you don’t like it, then we as Egyptians have no objection that you leave.”

Darwish denounced the lack of headquarters for Uber, demanding that a main headquarters be provided in Egypt and an official in each governorate, and not limited to a regional center.

He also recommended disclosing the financial position of Uber, Careem, and all ride-sharing companies for transparency on their earnings.

Darwish further called for providing real and acceptable guarantees to preserve the safety of all passengers and the confidentiality of data and information, ensuring that the procedures stipulated by the law are followed, and reconsidering the management of this system.


A crisis of safety

He added that there is a crisis of clear guarantees for the safety of citizens who use this ride-sharing services, Uber and Careem specifically, especially as they employ over 250,000 drivers – a large number to manage.

The Egyptian MP also spoke about the licenses granted to ride-sharing companies, stressing that there is no real oversight over these companies and that it is the responsibility of Transport Ministry, which grants the licenses.

Representative Ahmed Badawy asked about progress in the committee’s recommendation to activate the tracking feature inside the car, to which the Uber representative responded: “We are verifying more than one method, one of which was developed specifically for Egypt.”

Representative Mai Mazen objected to the representative’s statements, saying: “You mentioned the committee’s recommendations that were issued in March, but none of them have been implemented, and there is no activation of the distress button as was recommended before.”

Mazen added: “Since the committee met with you in March and until now there has been no action. We have had five accidents on the company’s cars, two deaths, and the rest were incidents of harassment.”

She demanded that the Uber application be shut down in Egypt.

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