International survey on Uber | Brutal, even illegal, methods that are still in their infancy

(San Francisco) The Uber platform said Sunday it was not apologizing for its “past,” in response to an international probe by journalists that showed the company engaged in brutal practices and “broke the law” around itself push through despite the reluctance of politicians and taxi companies.

Posted at 2:40 p.m

Julie Jammot
Media Agency France

“We have not justified and do not condone behavior that is inconsistent with our current values ​​as a company,” said Jill Hazelbaker, Uber’s vice president of public affairs, in a statement in an online press release.

“We ask the public to judge us on what we have done in the last five years and what we will do in the years to come,” she added.

The Guardian, a British daily, received and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) about 124,000 documents from 2013 to 2017, including emails and messages from then-Uber executives, as well as presentations, notes and invoices.

On Sunday, several news organizations (including the Washington Post, Le Monde and the BBC) published their first articles from these “Uber Files”.

They highlight certain methods used during these years of rapid expansion but also of confrontation for Uber from Paris to Johannesburg.

“The company has broken the law, deceived police and regulators, exploited violence against drivers and covertly influenced governments around the world,” the Guardian’s introduction reads.

The articles notably mention messages from Travis Kalanick, then CEO of the San Francisco-based company, when executives worried about the risks to drivers Uber encouraged to attend a Paris demonstration.


PHOTO SCOTT EELLS, BLOOMBERG ARCHIVE

Travis Kalanick in 2014

“I think it’s worth it,” the co-founder told them. “Violence guarantees success”.

According to the Guardian, Uber has used similar tactics in different European countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, etc.), mobilizing drivers and encouraging them to complain to the police when they have been victims of violence to use media insurance coverage, to obtain concessions from the authorities.

“Mr. Kalanick has never suggested that Uber uses violence at the expense of driver safety,” responded Devon Spurgeon, spokesman for the controversial former leader, in a statement released by the ICIJ, denying all the allegations.

“Today, Uber is one of the largest work platforms in the world and an integral part of the everyday lives of 100 million people. We have moved from an era of confrontation to an era of cooperation and have demonstrated a willingness to find common ground with former adversaries, including unions and taxi companies,” says Jill Hazelbaker.

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