A new electric moped sharing company is allowing users to ride its vehicles without properly verifying whether they are licensed to drive them in the first place.
Indeed, Lovin Malta has found out that Whizascoot’s system is allowing people who don’t even have a car driving license to gain access to its mopeds and hit Malta’s roads.
Whizascoot was launched earlier this year by Alan Camilleri, the man behind the popular bicycle sharing system Nextbike and the former executive chairman of Malta Enterprise.
It works in a very similar way to Nextbike. Users must download an app, submit their personal and contact details and verify their driving license by sending photos of themselves and their license.
Once approved, one can use Whizascoot’s map to search for the closest available scooter and turn it on by pressing ‘Rent’ on the app.
Riders who are done with the scooter for the day can simply park the vehicle, press another button on the app and open it up to other users.
The system appears to be an innovative use of technology to alleviate traffic in an environmentally friendly way, but it comes with a serious snag.
Malta’s moped licensing requirements are stricter than in most European countries, requiring riders to not only be in possession of a regular car driving license but also to undergo ten hours of training at a motoring school. There is no test involved, and once a driver’s ten hours are complete, Transport Malta will update his license accordingly.
Lovin Malta tested Whizascoot’s technology by submitting photos of a regular driving license that hadn’t been updated to indicate the ten hours’ moped training had been completed. Within a few minutes, Whizascoot sent a message that the license had been successfully verified.
We then took it a step further, with a person submitting his personal details and photo to Whizascoot but with someone else’s driving license. Again, this person was accepted within a matter of minutes.
Contacted by Lovin Malta, Alan Camilleri said Whizascoot makes use of Veriff, a global identity verification software to verify driving licenses according to the moped restrictions that apply in the country in which the licenses were issued.
This means that while a person with a regular Spanish car driving license can access the mopeds, a person with a regular Maltese car driving license should be rejected unless the ten hours of training have been completed.
“Veriff sends to Whizascoot the date of birth from the license card and if this does not match the one that the user inserted on the Whizascoot account, the date of birth is updated as per licence card on the Whizascoot account,” Camilleri said.
“In this manner, there is a two way verification process for identity and the possibility of identity theft is quite remote unless its a full scale forgery, which obviously can happen in any case and anywhere.”
When informed of the issues Lovin Malta found with the software, Camilleri said that this shouldn’t be the case and that he will look into it. He added this was the first time he had heard of a person who was accepted on Whizascoot with someone else’s driving license.
Lovin Malta also submitted regular driving licenses to two other similar local moped sharing services, namely Blinkee.city and IoScoot, the latter of which is owned by the Spanish company which owns Malta Public Transport.
Blinkee.city got back after a few hours to say its team had deemed the driving license to be insufficient, while IoScoot responded to say the license doesn’t comply with the Maltese traffic regulations.
“In Malta, the law requires a person to have a specific moped or motorcycle driving licence to ride a motorcycle,” it said.