124,000 confidential internal documents from ridesharing giant Uber were recently leaked to The Guardian, revealing that the company attempted to lobby Joe Biden and other world leaders while also hiding information from law enforcement and purposefully putting drivers at risk.
The Guardian recently revealed that it has gained access to a trove of over 124,000 confidential internal documents from the ride-sharing company Uber. The documents outline the ethically questionable practices of the ridesharing company that made it one of the most famous Silicon Valley companies of the last decade.
The leak includes information between 2013 and 2017 when the company was run by cofounder Travis Kalanick. At the time, Uber was attempting to force its way into cities and taxi markets around the world, even if it meant breaching laws and regulations to do so.
As the company faced major pushback, it began to lobby prime ministers, presidents, billionaires, oligarchs, and media barons for support. Leaked messages appear to show company executives were well aware that their actions violated various laws and regulations, with one joking that they have become “pirates” and another stating “we’re just fucking illegal.”
The internal data includes more than 83,000 emails, iMessage, and WhatsApp messages, including communications between Kalanick and his top executives. In one message, Kalanick dismissed concerns over sending Uber drivers to a protest in France which could put them at risk of violence from opponents in the taxi industry. “I think it’s worth it,” Kalanick said. “Violence guarantee[s] success.”
A spokesperson for Kalanick attempted to downplay his statements, saying that he “never suggested that Uber should take advantage of violence at the expense of driver safety.”
The leak also contains many texts between Kalanick and French President Emmanuel Macron, who was serving as the economy minister of France at the time of the communication. Macron appears to have gone to great lengths to help Uber, telling the company that he had brokered a secret “deal” with its opponents in the French cabinet.
When President Joe Biden — who was serving as Vice President to Barack Obama at the time of the communication — was late to a meeting with Uber at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Kalanick texted a colleague “I’ve had my people let him know that every minute late he is, is one less minute he will have with me.”
After the meeting, Biden appeared to amend his prepared speech at Davos to refer to Kalanick as a CEO who would give millions of workers “freedom to work as many hours as they wish, manage their own lives as they wish.”