Mark MacGann has become one of the protagonists of the technology sector. The former director of Uber is the ‘deep throat’ that has leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) a series of documents that break down the policies carried out by this mobility company during its irruption in the market and its unedifying practices . This it is what you want to know about the secret Uber documents that have been leaked.
What are Uber Files?
The filtration of the so-called Uber Files (Uber Files) is made up of 124,000 documents that reveal how the landing of this platform was planned and executed in markets such as Europe, Africa or India. The Uber Files that have come to light are dated between 2013 and 2017, a stage in which Travis Kalanick, already dismissed from the company, served as CEO.
The arrival of Uber has been surrounded by controversy in practically all the countries in which it operates. Its ostentatious appearance clashed squarely with the legislation of numerous territories, and in these documents offered in Spain by the newspaper ‘El País’ and the television channel laSexta, it is revealed how the managers were aware that they were offering an illegal service, confronting the sector of the taxi and also to the national and local authorities.
The relentless lobbying work carried out at Uber over the years has included meetings with top-tier politicians around the world. The Uber Files have revealed hitherto unknown meetings with Emmanuel Macron (then Minister of Economy and today Prime Minister of France) or with the Dutch commissioner Neelie Kroes, who later ended up being part of Uber in exchange for her favors before the European Commission.
The secret practices of Uber in Spain
This massive leak of documents also shows how it was the modus operandi of Uber in its first steps in Spain, as well as their strategies to win the favor of political power. Uber landed in Spain in 2014, but strikes in the taxi sector and Catalonia’s intention to regulate its activity led the company to cease its activity by court order in December. In 2016, Uber returned to Madrid, although the conflict did not end. In Barcelona it has returned to operate this year.
During the last few days, news such as spying by Uber on taxi drivers in Barcelona, seeking to obtain graphic documents of violence to win over public opinion. The Silicon Valley company also tried to delve into the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona in 2015. Travis Kalanick, the CEO at the time, acknowledged that he wanted to expose Barcelona by contrasting its obstacles with the facilities he found in Madrid to implement his service and calling taxi drivers «mafia».
I love the idea as a possibility that would put Barcelona to shame, as if it couldn’t protect investors from the local mafia. Barcelona as a banned zone, etc.
Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, before the Mobile World Congress of 2015
Another aspect of the Uber Files that has impacted public opinion is the conditions that it posed to its drivers. While Uber diverted its income to tax havens, it sought to divert the attention of the authorities by putting at their disposal strategies so that their drivers would pay more taxes.
The revelations of the massive leak of the Uber Files continue to offer daily news in headlines such as ‘El País’ or ‘The Guardian’, increasing the reputational blow to the company every day. Uber tries to minimize the controversy ensuring that the company no longer has 90% of the workers of that time, but it is that period between 2013 and 2017 that helped position Uber as a mobility giant. Pressure on top politicians, illegal business strategies and abusive conditions for its drivers were part of the Silicon Valley company’s day-to-day.
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