Friday 7th of October 2022

uber aberrations……..

Thousands of leaked files have revealed how far ride-share company Uber went in lobbying world political leaders to help boost its growth.

Dubbed The Uber Files, the leak shows how Uber received extensive help from politicians such as French President Emmanuel Macron and former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes to relax labour and taxi laws, and to avoid justice.

The documents include more than 124,000 records, 83,000 emails and 1000 other files involving conversations, spanning 2013 to 2017 and nearly 30 countries.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared the files on Sunday, revealing what it called “an unprecedented look into the ways Uber defied taxi laws and up-ended workers’ rights”.

The consortium found that Uber used “stealth technology” to dampen government investigations, using lobbyists – including former aides to US president Barack Obama – to encourage authorities to drop investigations, rewrite labour and taxi laws, and relax background checks on drivers.

It also showed the company used a “kill switch” that cut access to its servers and blocked authorities from accessing computers during raids in at least six countries.

Citing former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick during a police raid in Amsterdam, the Uber Files reported, that he personally issued an order to “Please hit the kill switch ASAP … Access must be shut down in AMS (Amsterdam)”.

The consortium also stated Mr Kalanick saw violent protests of taxi drivers in 2015 on the streets of France as a way for the ride-sharing company to gain public support.

“Violence guarantee[s] success,'” Mr Kalanick texted colleagues. Mr Kalanick’s spokesman, Devon Spurgeon has since denied this claim.

The embattled chief executive was forced out by pressure from shareholders in June 2017.

The documents say during those violent protests, Mr Macron was on first-name terms with Uber’s controversial boss and told him he would reform French laws in the business’s favour.

They also show Ms Kroes secretly lobbied for the company before her term as the EU’s digital commissioner had ended, potentially breaching EU ethics rules.

Uber spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker acknowledged “mistakes” in the past. She said Mr Kalanick’s replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, was “tasked with transforming every aspect of how Uber operates” and has “installed the rigorous controls and compliance necessary to operate as a public company”.

“When we say Uber is a different company today, we mean it literally: 90 per cent of current Uber employees joined after Dara became [chief executive],” she said.




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According to the documents leaked by the Guardian, tech giant Uber exploited violence against its drivers and used its influence to secretly lobby political leaders as it expanded across the world. One of such leaders was allegedly the French president.

French President Emmanuel Macron has faced calls to step down amid his purported ties to taxi giant Uber. Uber is currently under fire for allegedly inking a secret deal with the French president concerning the company’s service regulations.


"Macron must resign! He betrays France, its companies, the State, justice, the people! Out!" said Les Patriotes leader Florian Philippot.


He also urged the opposition to initiate a no-confidence vote against Macron following the Uber leak.

The leader of the French Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, voiced similar sentiments, saying that Macron was benefiting the wealthy instead of protecting French citizens. A National Rally MEP Jordan Bardella likewise accused Macron of putting private interests before those of his countries.


"Emmanuel Macron's career has a consistency, a common thread: to serve private interests, often foreign, before national interests," Bardella tweeted.


The parliamentary faction of the La France Insoumise Party founded by Jean-Luc Melenchon is already planning to use its right to launch a commission to investigate Macron's alleged ties to Uber.


"This is very serious, the idea that Macron, by engaging in a secret agreement with the company, has deregulated the rules concerning cabs. What lesson can be drawn from that? Obviously, you have to raise the question, you can go to the government, you can create a commission of inquiry," La France Insoumise Lawmaker Alexis Corbiere said.


According to the "Uber Files", then-Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Macron promised to "personally look" into the 2015 banning of one of Uber’s services in Marseille. Macron also reached a reported "secret deal" with the taxi company to help it work despite legislation banning its services.

Le Monde, in turn, claimed that the French president was "more than a supporter, almost a partner" for Uber, having held more than 17 meetings with company executives when it faced legal issues in France.

AFP has reported that Uber France confirmed it had been in contact with Macron during his ministerial tenure, but that their interaction was within the scope of his duties as he stayed in contact with "many companies involved in the profound change in services that has occurred over the years mentioned, which should be facilitated by unravelling certain administrative or regulatory locks".

The French president has not commented on the situation.








uberisation in rome……...

Hundreds of taxi drivers have taken to the streets in Rome to protest against the government’s plan to liberalize the public transport sector by integrating ride-sharing operators into it.

In the morning, several union representatives were seen chained together in front of the Chigi Palace – the official residence of the prime minister – for the second day in a row. On Tuesday, they were quoted by the local media as saying: “We chained ourselves today to be free tomorrow.”

Videos being posted on social media show firecrackers and smoke bomb explosions in the capital’s central square, Piazza Venezia.

Occasional clashes with police officers, deployed in large quantities to keep the demonstrators out of the government building, have also been reported.