Saturday, August 13

Uber Files: what they are and how the company took advantage of the violence | Digital Trends Spanish


A complete investigation was uncovered this Sunday, July 10, in the English newspaper Guardian and shared to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) along with 42 other associated media, it is about how Uber gained access to world leaders, got close to oligarchs and dodged taxes amid chaotic global expansion.

1- What are Uber Files about?

“The records, the Uber Files, were obtained by The Guardian newspaper and shared with ICIJ and 42 other media partners. The cache includes emails, text messages, company filings and other documents from 2013 to 2017, when Uber was storming cities in defiance of local laws and regulations, dodging taxes and trying to bring the taxi industry to heel, most prominently, but also labor activists,” says the ICIJ report.

2- The aggressiveness of Uber to enter the markets

The strategy consists of penetrating new markets without the approval of governments, exposing their drivers to the wrath of taxi drivers, who saw their source of income threatened by competitors who were not obliged to play by the same rules. In Europe and Asia as well as in South America, taxi drivers protested, harassed customers and set the cars of Uber drivers on fire.

“Some Uber executives tried to profit from the violence. They discussed sending details of a near-fatal stabbing and other brutal attacks to the press in hopes of giving the taxi drivers a bad image, according to the communications. Uber officials also sought to deflect uncomfortable questions about its aggressive tax avoidance strategies by helping countries collect more taxes on the income of their own drivers,” according to the documents.

3- What was the emergency switch

Company executives activated a so-called “kill switch” to cut off access to company servers and prevent authorities from finding evidence during raids on Uber offices in at least seven countries, according to leaked documents and sources. public.

4- Its political tentacles

Uber also recruited a battalion of former officials, including several former advisers to President Barack Obama. They appealed to officials to close investigation files, modify labor rights clauses, design new laws on taxis, and ease background checks on drivers.

The files show that Uber executives met with Macron, then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and then-Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, among other heads of state.

Uber executives courted oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin through former US and UK officials, and cut special deals with them.

ROME, ITALY – JULY 05: Protesters attend a national demonstration of taxi drivers to demand the withdrawal of Article 10 of the «Competition» bill introduced by the Draghi government which, the unions explain, «benefits multinationals» such as Uber on July 5, 2022 in Rome, Italy.

5-Violence as a weapon

“Uber executives saw the violence and attacks on drivers as strategic opportunities to build support for their cause. They took no responsibility for the violence, even though Uber’s push into new markets, often in violation of local laws, was triggering it.

In 2015, taxi drivers in Brussels organized a harassment campaign against Uber. They threw eggs at Uber cars, smashed side view mirrors and took keys from Uber drivers. Some even threatened to “lynch” them.

The general manager of the company in Belgium commented: “Already a driver stepped forward to speak to the press: a sack full of flour was thrown on him and passengers in a taxi. He filed charges and a taxi driver would have spent a night in jail: > good story! »

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