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Grab Malaysia deploys facial recognition system to protect drivers

Grab Malaysia is deploying an in-app facial recognition system that it says will be used to identify riders in the case of misconduct against drivers.

The unique Passenger Verification system is part of Grab’s #SaferEveryday initiative and is designed to reduce the risk of crime against drivers. It was introduced for new Grab user registrations since the beginning of March and will be rolled out for all users in phases from today.

New passengers to the Grab platform will be required to take a selfie of themselves via the app as a form of identification. The facial recognition technology ensures that the picture taken is an actual ‘live’ human face and it is also able to detect and reject inappropriate photos.

Grab’s #SaferEveryday initiative aims to raise transport safety standards in Southeast Asia to eliminate preventable incidents, encourage safe user habits and drive long-term changes in road behaviour.

According to Grab, since the introduction of the feature to new riders last month, passenger-related crimes have dropped by 30%.

Grab assured riders that the photograph will be used for a one-time verification process only and that riders’ data is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), as with all personal data provided to the company.

Currently, Grab has several features within its app to ensure both drivers and passengers know who they are dealing. This range from driver background checks to secure in-app chat via GrabChat to number masking and VOIP calls that guarantee personal contact numbers are not revealed ensuring users’ privacy.

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The app also allows both riders and drivers to rate and review their trip experience to help Grab identify and investigate any misconduct.

Apart from the facial-recognition Passenger Verification feature, Grab is also looking to incorporate another feature that will remove driver details from the rider’s trip history 72 hours after a ride has been completed. This is to further ensure drivers are safe.

For more information on Grab’s safety commitment and goals, log on to


Amin Ashaari