According to a joint media investigation, Uber relied on bare-knuckle tactics for its rapid global expansion.

According to a joint media investigation, Uber relied on bare-knuckle tactics for its rapid global expansion.

According to the research, Uber attempted to avoid regulatory scrutiny by utilizing a technical advantage.

According to a joint media investigation, Uber relied on bare-knuckle tactics for its rapid global expansion.

According to a joint media investigation, a trove of secret papers from ride-sharing business Uber demonstrates morally problematic and perhaps criminal practices it employed to drive its frantic worldwide development that began over a decade ago.

The study, dubbed the "Uber Files," including dozens of news organizations, discovered that business management used the sometimes-violent pushback from the taxi industry against drivers to build support and circumvent regulatory authorities as it sought to capture new markets early in its history.

The revelations, culled from 124,000 documents obtained by the British daily the Guardian and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, are the latest setback for a company that has been dogged by controversy as it has exploded into a disruptive force in local transportation.

The collection contains uncensored text and email interactions between executives, including highlights from co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was forced to quit in 2017 after allegations of abusive management methods and many incidents of sexual and psychological harassment at the business.

"Violence ensure(s) success," Kalanick messaged other business management in 2016, as he advocated for a counter-protest amid sometimes intense protests in Paris over Uber's entry into the market.

The Washington Post, one of the media sources engaged in the investigation, found that Uber's rapid development relied on subsidized drivers and discounted prices that undercut the taxi business, and "frequently without obtaining permits to operate as a taxi and livery service."

Taxi drivers across Europe have feared violent reaction as their livelihoods were endangered. According to the Post, the study discovered that "in certain instances, when drivers were assaulted, Uber management swung rapidly to capitalize" in order to gain public and regulatory backing.

According to the Guardian, Uber has used similar techniques in European nations such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy, organizing drivers and pushing them to report violent incidents to police in order to leverage media coverage to get concessions from authorities.

According to a representative for Kalanick, the conclusions are a "false agenda," and he "never indicated that Uber should take advantage of violence at the expense of driver safety."

Uber, on the other hand, blamed the incident on previously documented "mistakes" committed under Kalanick's leadership.

"We've shifted from an age of confrontation to one of cooperation," it added, adding that his replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, "was entrusted with altering every part of how Uber runs."

'Kill button'

According to the Post, the inquiry also discovered that Uber sought to avoid regulatory scrutiny by utilizing a technology advantage.

It revealed an occasion in which Kalanick used a "kill switch" to remotely block off access to Uber's internal systems from devices at an Amsterdam office during a raid by police.

"Please press the kill switch as soon as possible," he said in an email to an employee. "Access to AMS (Amsterdam) must be restricted."

According to Devon Spurgeon, a spokeswoman for Kalanick, the former CEO "never approved any activities or plans that would impede justice in any nation."

"I did not develop, supervise, or manage these processes put up by legal and compliance departments," Kalanick wrote, adding that she "has never been prosecuted in any jurisdiction for obstruction of justice or any comparable act."

However, the study claimed that Uber's practices were illegal and that executives were aware of it, with one joking that they had become "pirates."

According to the allegations, the papers show Uber lobbied governments to help its development, finding a particularly helpful supporter in France's Emmanuel Macron, who served as economics minister from 2014 to 2016 and is now the country's president.

According to the Post, the corporation anticipated Macron would urge authorities "to be 'less conservative' in their interpretation of restrictions limiting the company's operations."

Macron was an outspoken backer of Uber and the goal of transforming France into a "start-up nation" in general, but leaked papers show that the minister's backing often conflicted with the objectives of the socialist administration.

The discoveries provoked outrage among socialist MPs, who slammed the Uber-Macron connections as violating "all our regulations, all our social rights, and all employees' rights," as well as the "pillage of the country."

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