The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a non-profit network of investigative journalists, reviewed Uber’s internal texts, emails, invoices and other documents to present what it called “an unprecedented look at how Uber defies taxi laws and violates workers’ rights” .
The documents were first leaked to the British newspaper The Guardian, which shared them with the consortium.
In a written statement. Uber spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker admitted “mistakes” in the past and said the CEO Dara Khosrowshahihired in 2017, “the challenge was to change every aspect of how Uber works… When we say that Uber is a different company today, we mean it literally: 90% of current Uber employees joined us after Dara became CEO “.
Founded in 2009, Uber sought to bypass taxi rules and offer low-cost transportation through a sharing app. consortium Uber files showed what an extraordinary effort the company has made to establish itself in almost 30 countries.
The company’s lobbyists, including former aides to President Barack Obama, have been pushing for government officials to drop investigations, rewrite labor and taxi laws, and ease driver screening, newspapers show.
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The investigation revealed that Uber used “invisible technology” to fend off government investigations. The company, for example, used a “kill switch” that blocked access to Uber’s servers and prevented authorities from collecting evidence during raids in at least six countries. During a police raid in Amsterdam Uber files the former CEO of Uber said Travis Kalanick personally gave the order: “Please press the switch as soon as possible … Access must be closed in AMS (Amsterdam).”
The consortium also reported that Kalanick viewed the threat of violence against Uber drivers in France by resentful taxi drivers as a way to garner public support. “Violence guarantees (c) success,” Kalanick wrote to colleagues.
In response to the consortium’s statement, Kalanick spokesman Devon Spurgeon said the former CEO “never suggested that Uber use violence at the expense of driver safety.”
Uber files say the company reduced its tax bill by millions of dollars by sending profits through Bermuda and other tax havens and then “tried to divert attention from its tax liability by helping the authorities collect taxes from their drivers.”