Famous rideshare company Uber employed a variety of controversial measures with the help of lobbyists who conspired with government officials to maximize the company’s profit.
New investigations reveal that Uber avoided taxes, faked violence against its drivers, and pushed governments to manipulate taxi and labor laws.
Uber’s Poor Tactics to Maximize Profit
The latest report released by a nonprofit organization, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), revealed the dirty tactics used by Uber to get public sympathy and monetary benefits.
According to the report, the ride-sharing company used lobbyists who forced the US government to change taxi and labor laws, while dropping investigations against the company.
Massive data leak reveals how top politicians secretly helped Uber in its bid to disrupt the taxi market in European cities https://t.co/VQtllK7e3q
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 10, 2022
Similarly, these lobbyists, including some officials of the Obama administration, also pushed the government to ease background checks on drivers, the report added.
The leaked records, which comprise more than 124,000 Uber emails, texts, and other records, detail the discrepancies of Kalanick’s tenure, and are named “Uber Files.”
Reportedly, Uber used “stealth technology” to avoid government investigations. For instance, the “kill switch” of Uber was designed to disconnect computers from Uber servers during the government’s raids.
The papers showed one specific instance in which former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick asked authorities to “hit the kill switch ASAP” when police raided the company’s office in Amsterdam.
Likewise, the leaked data shows the company perceived that staging threatening episodes against its own drivers would help them grow their business in France. One leaked text suggested that Kalanick texted his colleagues, “Violence guarantee(s) success.”
Uber Files also revealed that French President Emanuel Macron helped the company in dodging laws when he was the finance minister of the country.
What the #UberFiles confirm, is that Uber’s rise is not some ‘free market’ success story.
It was a co-ordinated theft of our urban economies, based on exploitation + aggressive lobbying.
Much of which was – in the words of Uber execs – ‘fucking illegal’
— Dalia Gebrial (@daliagebrial) July 11, 2022
Similarly, the company avoided millions of dollars in taxes by transferring its profits through tax havens like Bermuda.
In order to deflect the government’s attention from its own taxes, the company then urged governments to collect taxes from its drivers.
Uber’s Controversial History
Uber’s former chief lobbyist, Mark MacGann, leaked all this classified information about the company to the media.
MacGann noted he wanted governments to “right some fundamental wrongs,” so he was left with no choice but to come forward and reveal the information.
Meanwhile, Uber spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker accepted the company made some “mistakes” in the past.
However, she added the incumbent CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, changed the work culture of the company after assuming his office in 2017. Under Khosrowshahi’s leadership, Uber has transformed into a different company, the spokesperson added.
This is not the first time Uber is making headlines for its controversial measures.
In 2018, Bloomberg reported Uber employs a remote system that prevents the police from accessing crucial information during raids.
Likewise, French newspaper Le Monde previously noted then-finance minister Macron and Kalanick had four secret meetings in which they struck the deal which helped Uber in playing with the laws.