Boston Uber Driver Rape Suspect Signed Up With Fake Name

Boston Uber Driver Rape Suspect Signed Up With Fake Name

Two weeks after Massachusetts announced its new state-run background checks of Uber and Lyft drivers found 51 registered sex offenders, and hundreds of others with violent histories and sex-related crimes in their past, another alleged rape of a Boston Uber passenger has come to light.

The Boston Uber driver charged with raping a woman passenger was driving under the fake name, “Pedro Valentin.” The driver’s real name, Luis Baez, was known to local police.

The alias, “Valentin,” sounds faintly like a pathetic brag—but there’s nothing the least bit funny about the situation. Equally amusing/unamusing was Uber’s response to the alias: “Uber said the company is investigating how Baez was able to drive with the service using the false name.”

Really?

Uber’s infamous refusal to fingerprint its drivers—to utilize an individual’s God-given unique biometric identifier—means that anyone can sign up to drive with a fake name.

This is not news. Not theoretical. It’s well documented:

  • A convicted murderer, who signed up for Uber with a fake name, was found driving in Los Angeles.
  • An approved TNC driver in Houston possessed 24 aliases, 5 listed birth dates, 10 listed social security numbers, and an active arrest warrant.

This open-ended threat to public safety could be avoided—if lawmakers are willing to make it happen.

So, when Uber says it’s “investigating” how Baez in Boston was able to drive using a fake name, this is:

a) A mock-concerned, tone-deaf statement designed to placate the media.

b) Maybe true—but clearly a pointless exercise—because in the absence of fingerprinting, individuals can sign up for Uber’s name-based background checks using an alias.

c) A PR response that Uber will continue to use if no one calls them on it.

d) All of the above

A final unamusing irony.  Last year, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick—who was recently described as a “serial prevaricator” by a former business adviser—proffered his rationale for refusing to fingerprint Uber drivers while speaking to the Boston College CEO Club. The most recent reported Boston Uber rape victim was dropped off at, yes, Boston College.

Last week, The Information reported that 97% of Uber drivers quit after one year.

Is the threat of further reducing Uber driver sign-ups and retention the actual reason Uber refuses to fingerprint its drivers?

Yes, it is.

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