Uber broke laws and deceived police, says newspaper – 07/10/2022 – Mercado

Uber broke laws, exploited violence against drivers, withheld information from authorities in different countries and tried to lobby US President Joe Biden, according to a report by the British newspaper The Guardian published on Sunday (10).

The newspaper claims to have had access to more than 124,000 leaked documents that expose illegal and ethically questionable practices by the tech giant.

According to the report, the leak spans a five-year period when Uber was managed by its co-founder Travis Kalanick. The executive allegedly introduced the company’s services to cities around the world in violation of local laws and regulations. During the management, the company would have created a technique to hide and get rid of information in case any office was investigated.

The documents obtained by the Guardian would also show how the company approached politicians and big media entrepreneurs around the world for support. Among them Joe Biden, when he was vice president of the United States, and Emmanuel Macron, when he was Minister of Economy of France.

According to the report, leaked messages still suggest that Uber executives knew about the illegal practices and made fun of it, suggesting that they had become “pirates”.

In a statement sent to the British newspaper, Uber admitted “mistakes and mistakes” but said it had been transformed since 2017 under the leadership of its current chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi.

“We do not and will not make excuses for past behavior that clearly does not align with our current values,” he said. “Instead, we ask the public to judge us for what we’ve done in the last five years and what we’re going to do in the years to come.”

The files span the period from 2013 to 2017 and include more than 83,000 emails, text messages and WhatsApp conversations between Kalanick and executives.

The Guardian said it led a global investigation into the leaked Uber files and that the information was shared with media organizations around the world through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which brings together more than 180 journalists from 40 media outlets, including Le Monde, Washington Post and BBC.

The group is the same that, in 2021, revealed the Pandora Papers case.

According to the British newspaper, company executives were unconcerned about the episodes of violence suffered by drivers. In several cities around the world, drivers were attacked by people linked to the taxi sector, resistant to the release of the driver service by application.

During a protest held in France, Kalanick was reportedly unconcerned about the possibility of Uber drivers being assaulted by taxi drivers. In one of the conversations, the executive would have stated that it would be worth it and that violence would guarantee the company’s success.

Contacted by the Guardian, a spokesperson for Kalanick said the executive never suggested that Uber should take advantage of violence at the expense of drivers’ safety and that any suggestion he was involved in such activity was “completely false”.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also named in the Guardian report. According to the British newspaper, Macron would have secretly helped the company in France when he was Minister of Economy, between 2014 and 2016, and made an effort to help Uber enter the country.

Current president of the United States, Joe Biden is also mentioned in the leaked conversations of the executives, who would have tried to approach the politician at the time he was vice president of Barack Obama.

According to the newspaper, Biden met with Kalanick during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. After the meeting, the American would have changed the speech he would make. At the time, Biden even spoke of a CEO whose company would give millions of workers the freedom to work as many hours as they wanted.

The conversations seen by the Guardian also show, according to the newspaper, how employees viewed politicians who were against the company’s business model.

Olaf Scholz, who was Hamburg’s mayor at the time the company arrived in the city, reportedly opposed Uber’s lobbyists and insisted on paying drivers a minimum wage. Hence, he was called a “comedian”.

According to the report, the company would have a scheme to hide information. The technique, called the Kill Switch, would be a protocol for IT employees to cut access to key company data. She would have been executed 12 times.

For the newspaper, Kalanick’s spokesman said these protocols are common business practice and are not designed to obstruct justice. He also says the company has never been charged with obstruction of justice or related offence.

Uber told the newspaper that it stopped using the system in 2017 and that the method should never have been used to prevent legitimate regulatory action.

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