THE FOOD delivery company Deliveroo will roll out its latest ‘biometric technology’ for all couriers in a Buckinghamshire town.

The global delivery giant employs thousands of self-employed couriers in the UK, and almost 200,000 world-wide.

On Monday, bike courier for the company in Chesham Alex Paul received an email saying he will soon have to upload a selfie every 14 days. 

The email seen by Bucks Free Press said: “In order to help keep your account secure and make sure no one else is trying to access it, we’ll soon start asking you to take a quick selfie, once every 14 days.

“The aim is to verify your identity and right to work as the account holder.”

The move comes after alleged incidents around Chesham, where retailers and restaurants have reportedly given orders to wrong couriers without checking their details, resulting as cancellations and wasted trips for other couriers.

Alex said: “I’m not worried about it personally, but I’m sure there are plenty of other riders who share their accounts and now they will have to be careful about who they substitute with.

“Deliveroo have permitted ‘substitutions’, whereby someone who has the legal right to work can use your account when you are unable to.

“I have a feeling these ‘substitutions’ have been misused or there have been too many cases of fraud in the area so they have introduced this."

At a local level, rolling out the new selfie requirement “seems like a necessary step because there have been a lot of suspicious occurrences”, but rolling it out nationally was “a bit excessive,” Alex continued.

But the Information Commissioner’s Office, UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights, raised concerns in October about companies’ use of “immature” biometric technology, including verification of human identity by comparing an ID to a selfie, as it could lead to discrimination.

ICO’s Deputy Commissioner Stephen Bonner said: “Developments in the biometrics and emotion AI market are immature. They may not work yet, or indeed ever.

“While there are opportunities present, the risks are currently greater. At the ICO, we are concerned that incorrect analysis of data could result in assumptions and judgements about a person that are inaccurate and lead to discrimination.

READ MORE: Chesham: Roadworks update after traffic concerns

“The only sustainable biometric deployments will be those that are fully functional, accountable and backed by science. As it stands, we are yet to see any emotion AI technology develop in a way that satisfies data protection requirements, and have more general questions about proportionality, fairness and transparency in this area.”

A Deliveroo spokesperson said the safety and security of riders and their accounts was “always a priority,” which is why riders are asked to take a selfie to verify their identity.

They said: “We're speaking to riders as this new feature reaches their area - it's fair to say the additional check has been welcomed by riders already using it as another way to keep their account secure."

The technology is currently used by the company's riders in Manchester, Deliveroo said. 

Deliveroo is yet to confirm when the requirement will take effect, and if it will be rolled out in other Buckinghamshire towns.