One criticism of app-based motorcycle taxi services – locally known as online ojeks – such as Go-Jek and GrabBike is that drivers have access to their passengers’ personal phone numbers, which could lead to invasions of privacy.
That is what allegedly happened to Fitri Fauzia, a Bogor resident and winner of the city’s Mojang Jajaka beauty pageant in 2014. As reported by Tribunnews, Fitri recently wrote on her Path account about how an online ojek ride – the name of the company was not disclosed – turned creepy as her driver made inappropriate advances to her through the social messaging app WhatsApp.
Fitri wrote that she hailed an online ojek from Bogor to get to a train station in Jakarta as she was traveling to Yogyakarta. When she was on the train, she received a message from the unnamed driver who told her that he was in possession of her luggage keychain after it had fallen off during the ride. At first, Fitri appreciated the driver’s intention to return the keychain, but soon began to suspect that he had ulterior motives as the driver said he’d pick her up from the station the following Wednesday when she arrived back in Jakarta.
Fitri then ignored the driver’s subsequent messages, which got even creepier. On top of constantly asking her if she’d eaten during the day, he sent her a picture of a pair of wedding rings with the caption “One day, I want one for me, and one for you.”
Fitri’s post has gone viral on social media recently. We can only hope that his inappropriate advances don’t escalate into anything worse because there’s no such thing as restraining order laws in Indonesia to protect one from stalkers. Perhaps, to avoid this kind of thing from happening, all ride-hailing apps should introduce chat features within their apps that allow passengers and drivers to communicate without disclosing anyone’s personal information such as their phone number. Grab has introduced a chat feature called GrabChat recently, but it seems to be designed to save people call and SMS charges instead of protecting their privacy, as drivers are still able to view passengers’ contact details.