Leaked internal records have shed new light on ride-hailing company Uber’s close ties to high-ranking executives around the world.
The documents show, among other things, that the company systematically broke laws to establish its business in new markets.
The internal documents were first released to the British newspaper The Guardian, which then shared the files International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The documents, called The "Uber files."
In Finland, documents revealed how Uber lobbied politicians and leaders to reform the country’s longstanding taxi laws.
According to the documents, the company had direct contact with the authorities of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, who were working on the reforms.
At the moment, Anne Berner (Cen) served as the Prime Minister’s Minister of Transport and Communications Juha Sipilä(Cen) board. According to Uber Files, Berner, who has a corporate background, viewed Uber’s goal to reform the laws of the Finnish taxi industry positively.
The MOT found that Berner was personally involved in the preparation of the legislation.
Member of Parliament of the Coalition Jukka Koprawho is also a member of the parliament’s transport and communications committee, told MOT that the first reform package handed over to parliament contained so much "crazy ideas," that the proposal did not get support even in the coalition government.
The committee characterized the level of preparation of the bill as weak, and at the same time, leaked documents showed that Uber managed to get almost all of its wishes in the bill presented by Berner’s ministry.
However, several changes were made to the reform proposal during the committee’s legislative discussion before the vote.
After the changes, the reforms were approved by the parliament and they were put into use in the summer of 2018. The liberalization of the taxi industry opened it up to competition and brought with it changes to pricing systems and other liberalization.
“Better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission”
According to the leaked documents, Uber used an aggressive growth strategy and deliberately ignored the law around the world.
In many countries, for example, its drivers were required by law to have a taxi license, but such rules were ignored. Instead, the company’s internal motto was that "it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."
In some countries, Uber drivers earned less than the minimum wage, but they were also the target of attacks by the authorities. The leaked data showed that Uber saw such attacks as an opportunity to garner media sympathy.
The leak also revealed that the company’s managers ordered to implement the so-called "kill switch" during police raids to prevent authorities from accessing internal documents, using the arrangement during raids in at least six countries.
One of the founders of the company, Travis Kalanickpersonally decided to use the kill switch during a police raid on Uber in the Netherlands.
Uber spokesperson, Jill Hazelbakerresponded to the Uber Files report a opinion to the ICIJ by admitting that the company had made mistakes.
However, he added that today the company is not the same as before.
"We have not and will not make excuses for past behavior that is clearly inconsistent with our current values. Instead, we’re asking the public to rate us based on what we’ve done in the past five years and what we plan to do in the years to come." Hazelbaker’s statement read.
Source: The Nordic Page