Fingerprinting new sticking point in Uber/Lyft conversation with Hillsborough regulators

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – To fingerprint or not to fingerprint?

That is the major sticking point between companies like Uber and Lyft and transportation regulators in Hillsborough County. Fingerprint background checks have created a showdown of sorts between the two parties, with many current drivers arguing they just aren’t necessary.

“The only thing fingerprinting does is give us the idea that we are safe, but are you really safe? Just by fingerprinting someone, that does not determine the mental state of a person, there are numerous people who have committed crimes for the first time,” said Uber driver Rolnita Wilson.

Supporters of fingerprint background checks argue there are advantages to this specific sort of check. EZ Fingerprints, a Largo-based company, does more than 40 fingerprint-based checks a day around the state.

“Fingerprinting is the least invasive way to tie an individual to their identity without looking at DNA. It’s unique, it’s one of a kind…this is a way to ensure that person is who they say they are on paper,” said owner Nicole Scheman.

Scheman claims Level Two background checks, which include fingerprinting, provide a way for regulators to monitor someone’s record even after the initial screening.

“If they commit a disqualifying offense, get arrested, that employer will receive notice,” said Scheman, “a Level Two background check…you are putting the onus on the FBI, on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to do the check. You are not leaving it up to the employer that they have run what really amounts to an internet check of past employment and addresses.”

Last month, Uber and PTC members worked out a temporary operating agreement that would require extensive background checks, insurance and vehicle inspections for drivers, but not fingerprint background checks.

The measure still needs final approval by the PTC and members were supposed to make their final vote on the new rules in October.

That meeting was cancelled with the next meeting scheduled for Nov. 9. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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