11 worst stories from Uber’s Year in Hell

CHRIS O'BRIEN@OBRIEN DECEMBER 23, 2017 8:02 AM

Looking back over our coverage of Uber in 2017, the controversial subsidized taxi service based in San Francisco, it remains a wonder that this company survived what is arguably one of the worst years ever for a Silicon Valley startup. Stealing, lying, harassing, and bullying are just a few of the verbs that were associated with Uber’s year.

Along the way, we saw founder Travis Kalanick forced out and replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi as CEO. In between, we saw the most painful of CEO searches in which candidates either ran screaming from the chaos or were plunged into a humiliating civil war raging among board members.

Fun!

Which means picking only 10 lowlights proved exceedingly difficult — ridiculously so. The appended list of runner-ups should attest to that.

But, without further delay, let us now relive the year that was for Uber, cringeworthy story by cringeworthy story:

1. Kalanick video: In late February, Kalanick was captured on video by the dashboard cam arguing with his Uber driver over declining fares. “To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement,” Kalanick wrote in an apology email to employees. “My job as your leader is to lead … and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away. It’s clear this video is a reflection of me — and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

2. Self-driving theft: Google’s self-driving automobile unit filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded the unit, downloaded 14,000 files from its hardware systems on his way out the door. Levandowski then founded Otto, a self-driving truck company, which was then bought by Uber. The suit claimed Levandowski and Kalanick hatched the whole plot together, something Uber denies. In any case, the accusation eventually led to one-time golden boy Levandowski being fired in May.

3. The blog post: For all the investigations and discussions into Uber’s Bro culture, it was a blog post published in February by a former Uber engineer alleging widespread sexism and harassment during her year working there that proved explosive. Susan Fowler wrote that her claims of sexual harassment by managers were repeatedly dismissed by the company, often with the excuse that her bosses were “high performing.” That led the board to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an independent investigation.

4. Greyball: Sweet fancy Moses. Uber apparently created a program called Greyball to avoid detection by authorities in places where it either faced harsh regulation or was banned. The New York Times broke the story, explaining that Greyball used data from its main Uber app to block local officials and remain off their radar.

5. CEO firing: The Uber board did the once unthinkable and forced out Kalanick in June. This came less than three months after the board gave him a vote of confidence.

6. Board fight, part I: VC firm Benchmark sued Kalanick and then went public with its reasons, following endless leaks. In a letter to employees, Benchmark wrote: “We know that many of you are asking why Benchmark filed a lawsuit against Travis last week. Perhaps the better question is why we didn’t act sooner… We are sorry that it has taken us so long to do the right thing.”

7. CEO search: A normally secretive process instead played out in public due to infighting by the board and incessant leaks. It got so bad that one finalist, HP CEO Meg Whitman, publicly took herself out of the running. Though she later apparently put herself back in the running and then lost out at the very last minute to dark horse Khosrowshahi. Whitman then publicly re-committed herself to HP. Then she later announced she was going to leave HP. Uber will make you do confusing things like that, I guess.

8. Board fight, part II: Hiring a new CEO brought approximately one nanosecond of peace. Ousted CEO Kalanick launched a power play to regain leverage on the board as the new CEO attempted to restructure it to limit the bad boy’s role. The result devolved into another display of public criticism from rival board factions, but it eventually ended with Khosrowshahi getting his way.

9. Losing its London license: Amid the distractions and chaos, someone forgot to make sure the lights stayed on. In September, a London transportation agency yanked Uber’s operating permits because it’s not a “fit and proper operator.” Also, the company was basically acting like jerk, the agency said: “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.” I say!

10. Hack: In November, the company’s new CEO dropped a bombshell. The previous year hackers accessed personal data of approximately 57 million Uber riders and drivers — a hack that previously went undisclosed. Oops! Actually, “disclosed” is being nice. The company allegedly paid off the hackers to keep quiet about it, and then decided to keep it under wraps.

11. Spying: No respite of bad news in December thanks to the disclosure of a letter by a former Uber employee in the lawsuit involving Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo. According to the New York Times: “The 37-page letter, written on behalf of Richard Jacobs, a former Uber security employee, detailed what he described as the formation of separate internal teams designed ‘expressly for the purpose of acquiring trade secrets’ from major ride-sharing competitors around the world.”

For runner-up honors, we might mention in passing the Uber driver arrested in the murder of a British diplomat; SoftBank offering to buy shares at a price far below Uber’s previous valuation of $70 billion; a federal investigation into Uber’s actions in the Waymo case; a European Union court ruling that Uber was a taxi service and could be regulated as such; widening losses in the third quarter; a suit filed in San Francisco accusing the company of race and gender discrimination; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sanctioning Uber for failing to protect users’ data and requiring it to undergo 20 years of audits; and being subject of a report indicating it has been sued 433 times so far in 2017.

 

https://venturebeat.com/2017/12/23/11-worst-stories-from-ubers-year-in-hell/

Uber hit with serious fallout from massive hack, alleged cover-up

By ETHAN BARON | ebaron@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: November 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm | UPDATED: November 25, 2017 at 3:44 am

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber’s admission that it took more than a year to disclose the theft of personal data from 57 million customers and drivers has now drawn two lawsuits and a federal probe.

Compounding the ride-hailing titan’s woes are news reports that it paid the hackers $100,000 to destroy the pilfered data, and that its new CEO knew about the breach for more than two months before revealing it to customers and drivers.

The hack and its fallout are just the latest problems to strike a firm that is already a target for harsh criticism about its management — from claims it fostered a reckless, misogynist company culture that led to sexual harassment and bullying, to revelations about use of secret technology for evading authorities’ oversight, to a trade-secrets lawsuit by Google self-driving spinoff Waymo, and an $8.9 million fine levied Nov. 20 by Colorado over drivers with serious criminal and driving-infraction records.

The beleaguered San Francisco company’s latest personal-data trouble started in October 2016, when hackers broke into its systems and downloaded names, email addresses and cell phone numbers of 57 million Uber customers, along with names and driver’s license numbers of some 600,000 U.S. Uber drivers, according to statements from the company.

Such information is commonly used for identity theft, which can result in criminals obtaining credit cards and loans in victims’ names, or looting their bank accounts.

It wasn’t until Tuesday that Uber, in a statement from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, revealed the breach to customers, drivers and the public. And according to a new report, Khosrowshahi had learned of the hack two weeks after he took the reins of the company Sept. 5, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed people said to be familiar with the matter.

In his Tuesday statement disclosing the 2016 hack, Khosrowshahi said he had “recently” learned of it.

The breach, and Uber’s response to it, drew two lawsuits soon after the company announced it had been hacked. Both suits seek class-action status.

On Tuesday, Alejandro Flores of Los Angeles launched a suit on behalf of himself and people who were Uber customers or drivers at the time of the breach. The legal action takes aim at the gap of more than a year between Uber’s discovery of the hack and its public disclosure.

 

“Customers, and drivers had no chance to protect their identity and their information,” said the suit filed in Central District of California U.S. District Court.

Flores also claims credit card and Social Security numbers were stolen, along with dates of birth. If true, that would put customers and drivers at increased risk of identity theft and fraud.

Khosrowshahi had said in his statement that the company’s “outside forensic experts” found no indication that dates of birth, or credit card or Social Security numbers were taken.

Uber did not immediately respond to a question about whether those types of data were stolen, or to additional questions about the breach and the company’s response. The lawyers representing Flores did not immediately respond to a request for information about the claims of stolen birth dates and credit card and Social Security numbers.

The other lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Danyelle Townsend and Ken Tew, highlights an allegation in a Nov. 21 Bloomberg report that Uber — under previous CEO Travis Kalanick — had paid the hackers to delete the stolen data and keep quiet about it.

“Rather than alerting regulators, law enforcement and victims of the Data Breach, Uber sought to conceal the Data Breach by paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen data and to promise to keep the Data Breach secret from the public and regulators,” the suit filed in Northern California U.S. District Court said.

This legal action also includes claims about personal data beyond what Uber has admitted was stolen.

“Also potentially at risk are additional pieces of personally identifiable information generally available in Uber customer accounts including: location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth and other information,” the suit claims.

Fallout from the hack goes beyond the courts. The Federal Trade Commission said it was “closely evaluating the serious issues raised” by the breach, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The huge hack is not the first data-security issue to put Uber into authorities’ sights. In August, the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement with Uber after a hacker accessed names and driver’s license numbers of more than 100,000 drivers in 2014. Uber had failed to take “reasonable, low-cost measures” to properly secure its database, the FTC said. In the settlement, Uber agreed to 20 years of independent audits to certify it had an effective privacy program.

That data breach also led to a settlement between Uber and New York’s attorney general, which included a $20,000 fine for failing to provide drivers and authorities with timely notice of the hack.

The legal and regulatory problems come as Uber readies itself to go public in 2019, and negotiates with SoftBank over a multi-billion-dollar investment that would give the Japanese tech titan a 14 percent to 20 percent stake in Uber, which is valued at nearly $70 billion.

Although Uber waited until this week to publicly disclose the massive breach of customer and driver data, it told SoftBank about the hack about three weeks earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/11/24/uber-hit-with-serious-fallout-from-massive-hack-alleged-coverup/

Uber driver allegedly threatened fare who shot-down his pitch for a date

 

By Jenna Jaynes | 

Posted: Mon 12:22 PM, Jul 03, 2017  | 

Updated: Mon 12:23 PM, Jul 03, 2017

     

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- An Uber driver has been jailed for allegedly threatening to slit the throat of a passenger who refused his overture for a date.

Richard Moreno, 30, is facing a Terroristic Threats charge. Bond has been set at $25,000.

Prosecutors say Moreno asked the victim for a date. She said no, prompting the alleged threat.

Moreno is due in court on July 25th.

http://www.wowt.com/content/news/Uber-driver-allegedly-threatened-fare-who-shot-down-his-pitch-for-a-date-432296123.html

Woman claims she was robbed by Uber driver and accomplice

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 | MYT 11:40 AM

BY JO TIMBUONG

SERDANG: A woman's ride home was not as safe as she thought it would have been when she was mugged by her Uber driver and another passenger on Monday night.

The 26-year-old booked her ride home to Puchong Jaya from Mid Valley through Uber, and claimed that there was another man sitting in the front passenger seat when she got into the vehicle at around 9.30pm Monday.

She said when they arrived at One Puchong business centre, the passenger pointed a knife at her and forced her to hand over her valuables.

After robbing her, the suspects left the victim by the side of the road where she was found by a passer-by who drove her to the police station to lodge a report.

The passer-by also related the woman's ordeal on Facebook and said that she was terrified and in tears when he approached her.

Serdang Deputy OCPD Supt Lee Wai Leong confirmed the incident.

"We have obtained information on the suspect and driver and are tracing them," he said.

Uber said it was unable to comment on the case as it was an ongoing investigation.

"We are cooperating with the authorities in their investigation and would like to assure the public that Uber takes safety very seriously," it said.

It's official: Uber's Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael are actually the worst

In case there was still any doubt, Uber's top executives are really terrible. 

A report in The Information out Friday night alleges that CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael took Uber staffers to—wait for it—an escort-karaoke bar in Seoul, where male Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup.

Again: Where Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup. 

Women. Working. At. The. Escort-karaoke bar. Out. Of. A. Lineup.

Oh yes. This is real. A female Uber manager who was part of the business trip months later reported the incident to Uber's human resources department. But it wouldn't be a story about Uber unless there were another Uber-sized screwup within it. And oh yeah, there's definitely one of those, too, because Michael tried to get Kalanick's then-girlfriend, violinist Gabi Holzwarth, to lie about it. One more time:

Tried. To. Get. Her. To. Lie.  About. It.

The incident resurfaced as part of former Attorney General Eric Holder's investigation into corporate culture and practices at Uber. The investigation was called for after women began coming forward in February to share their experiences of sexual harassment while working for the international ride-hailing giant. 

As a reminder, some of the allegations since all of this started: Uber protected high-ranking male managers accused of sexual harassment, created a culture that caused women engineers to leave the company and suffer "psychological trauma," and discriminated against women engineers by buying leather jackets for all the men on a team, and not the women, because there weren't enough of them. 

Oh, and also, a top executive resigned after reports that he'd previously left Google amid charges of sexual harassment there, and just yesterday it was reported that an Uber recruiter blamed Uber's problems on systemic sexism in the tech industry at large. Oh! And then there was that time Uber's president resigned after just a few months on the job. That was last week

The aforementioned Seoul incident happened in 2014. And Emil Michael allegedly asked Holzwarth before the news came out Friday to say the bar was just a regular karaoke bar, no escorts involved—not a scene where "four male Uber managers picked women out of the group, calling out their numbers." 

You might remember Michael from when he threatened to stalk female journalists who covered Uber via their Uber accounts in 2014. He apologized, as has Kalanick since this all began almost two months ago. 

But Kalanick was spotted at a ping-pong party with the theme "Babes and Balls" just over two weeks ago. So, uh, progress? (No.)

Uber said in a statement: 

"This all happened about three years ago and was previously reported to human resources. In early March it was referred to Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran as part of their review." 

Kalanick's troubles aren't limited to his company's treatment of women. He also got slammed for perceived ties to President Donald Trump and a video that showed him berating an Uber driver as they argued over Uber pricing. At least 500,000 people deleted their Uber accounts the first week a #DeleteUber campaign took off in late January. 

Safe to say, this probably won't make anyone who didn't like Uber before a fan of the app anytime soon. But as Holder finishes his investigation, the big question becomes: Is this as bad as it gets, or do the worst of Uber's skeletons have yet to show themselves out of the closet?

http://mashable.com/2017/03/25/uber-seoul-escort-bar/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#GFDAcKuPqkqQ

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick caught on video arguing with driver about fares

Kalanick apologized after a video obtained by Bloomberg showed him in a heated exchange with a driver who told the CEO: ‘I’m bankrupt because of you’

Another day, another embarrassing story about Uber.

The embattled ride-hail company logged another controversy on when Bloomberg News published dashcam video of CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with his own Uber driver over the company’s treatment of drivers, prompting a mea culpa from him on Tuesday night.

The video, reportedly taken 5 February, shows Kalanick riding in the back seat, wedged between two female friends, shimmying his shoulders to the strains of Maroon 5.

When the ride ended, driver Fawzi Kamel took the opportunity to share a common driver complaint: “You’re raising the standards, and you’re dropping the prices.”

The pair discussed the state of the ride-hail market for a few moments before Kamel drove his point home. “People are not trusting you any more,” he said. “I lost $97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you ... You keep changing every day.”

Kalanick denied that the prices for Uber’s high-end service, Uber Black, have fallen that much, saying, “Bullshit.”

Then he got personal with Kamel.

“Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” he said. “They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!” Then he slammed the door.

Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else

Travis Kalanick

According to Bloomberg News, Kamel took the opportunity to rate his rider with just a single star.

On Tuesday night, Kalanick apologized for his behavior in the video in an email to Uber staff, which the company also published on its blog.

“To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement,” he wrote. “My job as your leader is to lead … and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away.”

“It’s clear this video is a reflection of me – and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” he added. “This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

Kalanick’s charged claims about taking responsibility are revealed at a particularly difficult time for the company, whose business model relies on classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than direct employees. That designation, which has long been challenged by labor advocates and drivers, allows the $70bn company to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime, workers compensation and benefits.

In January, the company paid $20m to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that it recruited drivers with false promises about their prospective earnings.

Drivers for Uber Black, such as Kamel, face particular struggles because they are required to drive recent models of select premium vehicles. Drivers earn a higher rate, but they are increasingly competing with Uber’s cheaper UberX rides.

Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, called Kalanick’s interaction with Kamel “heartless” and “appalling”.

“Fawzi Kamel’s plight is far from unique,” she said. “We’ve talked to so many drivers who have been left in insurmountable debt after purchasing or leasing vehicles based on promised income from Uber then unable to make the payments as Uber has slashed fares, increased its commission, and flooded the streets with too many vehicles.”

Though Uber’s treatment of drivers has been publicized and criticized for years, many customers appeared to reach a tipping point in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Uber appeared to attempt to capitalize on a New York airport strike by taxi drivers – many of whom are Muslim immigrants – prompting widespread outrage and a viral #DeleteUber campaign that reportedly resulted in more than 200,000 customers deleting their accounts.

The turmoil has continued with allegations of widespread sexual harassment and gender discrimination, a lawsuit alleging the theft of trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car company, and most recently, the resignation of a top engineering executive over his alleged failure to disclose a sexual harassment allegation at his prior employer.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that Uber misled the public when it blamed a human driver for running a red light during the company’s self-driving car trial in San Francisco. The car was actually driving itself at the time, according to internal documents obtained by the Times.

Kamel’s release of the Kalanick video will likely draw further scrutiny of the chief executive, whose brash style has been credited with much of the company’s success – as well as its recent troubles.

In a recent op-ed, Ellen Pao, the former Reddit CEO and co-founder of Project Include, voiced the increasingly common concerns about Kalanick’s leadership in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations.

“Now Travis’ every move is being scrutinized, and he can’t win because he waited too long to address these issues,” she wrote. “What has he done to earn the chance to redeem himself?”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/28/uber-ceo-travis-kalanick-driver-argument-video-fare-prices?CMP=share_btn_fb

Perverted Uber Driver Whipped Out His Penis In Front Of Female Passenger And Her Baby

 

Published by Samantha Khor — 13 Feb 2017, 05:26 PM

The woman actually pleaded for help on Facebook while she was still in the car.

Earlier today, a woman gave her friends quite a scare when she posted a series of panicked status updates on Facebook pleading for help as she was being sexually harassed during an Uber ride.

The 4.59-rated Uber driver was allegedly palming and stroking his penis during the ride, with the woman and her baby seated next to him

·         The woman had hailed an Uber home from Hospital Likas in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah at approximately 10.30am today, 13 February.

In one of her posts, some of her friends could be seen asking after her whereabouts and even offering to pick her up from wherever she decides to end the ride at.

It is understood that she was eventually picked up by a friend and managed to arrive home safe and sound, after which she penned a post detailing her harrowing experience

·          

    • "I had no idea he was holding his penis until the third time when he took it out just a little and rubbing it gently. The first and second time he put his hands on his pants i thought he was just feeling itchy or the pants /belt too tight," she wrote

      "I was too frightened and shaken by the incident that I cried silently without saying anything. I did post on Facebook and texted my husband to ask for help. He called me and I tried to sound calm as I don't want him to suspect anything."

 

  • She also claimed that this is the third time something like this has happened to her, although her baby was not with her in the previous incidents
    • "My friend had already helped me to report to Uber and I just got a call from them awhile ago. They will continue to investigate this matter," she wrote, adding that Uber had banned the driver and will issue her a refund for the trip.

 says.com

  • Just a few months ago, a woman on her way to a shopping mall in PJ encountered a similar situation with a Grab driver:
    •  

Woman's Grab Driver Allegedly Whipped Out His Penis On The Way To Her Destination

Grab Malaysia has since removed the driver from its platform.

says.com

 

  • On a related note, this guys has a PSA for users of ride-hailing passengers when it comes to dealing with dodgy drivers:
    •  

"Do Not Get Into The Car" - Grab Passenger Warns The Public Of Dodgy Drivers

It all started with a call from the Grab driver.

says.com

 

http://says.com/my/news/perverted-uber-driver-whipped-out-his-penis-in-front-of-female-passenger-and-her-baby

 

Report: Two Baton Rouge Uber drivers arrested for DWI

POSTED 4:24 PM, FEBRUARY 10, 2017, BY WGNO WEB DESK, UPDATED AT 04:25PM, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

BATON ROUGE (WGNO) – Two Uber drivers were arrested for DWIs Friday morning.

According to a report from WBRZ in Baton Rouge, one of the drivers had a passenger in the vehicle at the time of his arrest.

Albert Defrances was booked for second-offense DWI, drinking in a motor vehicle and improper lane usage after his blood-alcohol test registered a .146. The legal limit is .08.

The passenger was able to find another ride.

The other driver, Craig Shields Jr., was on call to take Uber passengers. He registered a .148 on his blood-alcohol test. It was his first DWI arrest.

http://wgno.com/2017/02/10/report-two-baton-rouge-uber-drivers-arrested-for-dwi/

Uber driver accused of burglarizing home of Plantation customer

Brandi Begerow, 33, accused of stealing gun from under man's mattress

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Michael Seiden - Reporter

Posted: 5:53 PM, February 08, 2017

PLANTATION, Fla. - An Uber driver was arrested Tuesday, more than a week after she burglarized the Plantation home of one of her customers, authorities said.

The incident was reported early Jan. 30 at a home in the area of Southwest 59th Avenue and 16th Court.

Brandi Begerow, 33, of Hialeah, was arrested Tuesday at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, while she was visiting a friend, police said.

According to an incident report, the victim took an Uber from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport early in the morning to his home in Plantation after flying in from New York.

Surveillance video from his home shows him and a woman, believed to be Begerow, going inside.

Police said Begerow stayed at the home for a couple of hours and then came outside through the open garage. Police said Begerow backed her car halfway through the driveway and then left.

The victim told detectives that he woke up later that morning to find that his garage had been rummaged through and items were missing.

"I woke up at like 3 in the afternoon, and I wasn't even sure where I was at first," the man told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden in a telephone interview.

The victim, who asked not to be identified, said Begerow offered him water after picking him up. He believes she drugged him.

"I shouldn't have drank that," the man said.

The man said he let Begerow inside to use the bathroom, but he doesn't remember much after that. Among the items stolen were a handgun from under his mattress, a small safe and a bag containing a GoPro with accessories.

The man said $60 in cash was also taken from his wallet that was left on the kitchen counter. But that wasn't all that was stolen. "She went into my filing cabinet and took my tax returns from 2012 to 2015," the man said.

Begerow faces charges of armed burglary and grand theft of a firearm. The victim said he hopes others will learn from his mistake. "Why would you let a stranger into your house?" Seiden asked. "Because I'm a nice guy and I didn't think there was any harm," the man said.

Uber said Begerow's app has been disabled.

http://www.local10.com/news/crime/uber-driver-accused-of-burglarizing-home-of-plantation-customer

Wheelchair cyclist left lying in the street after being ‘repeatedly punched by road rage Uber driver’

ROAD RAGE SHOCK

The cyclist was left sitting dazed on the ground after the alleged attack

BY BRITTANY VONOW

27th January 2017, 1:55 pm

A DISABLED cyclist was allegedly mowed down and punched unconscious in a horrific road rage attack with an Uber driver now arrested over the assault.

The cyclist, who was using a hand-pedal bike, was left dazed and bloodied after being hit by the car in the streets of London yesterday.

Mick, a taxi driver, witnessed the entire attack telling The Sun Online that the alleged attack had started when the Uber driver cut off the cyclist.

The cyclist is then claimed to have banged on the car, aggravating the driver. Mick said: “The driver jumped out, ran at the bike and basically jumped on him.”

Recounting the attack, he claimed: “It all calmed down for a few seconds then the driver realised his car had rolled into a parked car and he shouted ‘look at what you made me do’.

“He ran back at the cyclist and punched him full in the face and knocked him out, it was terrible.”

He said the cyclist was knocked out cold for 20 seconds, with police called over the attack.

Mick said: “Everyone was in shock and disbelief. “The cyclist was shaking, he was in shock.” He said that a terrified passenger had been in the Uber car the entire time.

One cyclist, Billy Clerkin, said he saw the cyclist, in his 20s, on the ground next to a busted hand-pedal bike on the ground. He alleged that the Uber driver had become “impatient” before knocking the cyclist over and punching him. The 24-year-old said: “The driver involved in the incident was shouting at the cyclist on the floor. “The cyclist had a cut up face, but he was OK.”

Horrified witnesses captured video of the aftermath of the crash, which happened on Endell Street about 4.30pm yesterday. The video of the scene shows the cyclist sitting dazed on the ground as witnesses rush to help.

In the video, the bike can be seen lying mangled on the ground. One person, believed to be the cyclist, can be heard speaking in the video, saying: “I have multiple witnesses”. The video shows a man in a red jumper standing by the silver Toyota Prius hybrid while talking on the phone.

The driver, who has since been banned from taking fares with Uber, then turns away from the camera.

A Met Police spokesperson said they had been called to the scene to reports of an assault yesterday. He said: “Officers attended and found a man aged in his 20s on the floor injured.“London Ambulance Service attended and took the victim to a south London hospital.“His injuries are not life-threatening.”

A 38-year-old was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and was taken to a north London police station for questioning.He has been bailed to return on a date in late-March.Police said that enquiries were continuing.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We are currently investigating these shocking reports.“Whenever there is a serious incident it is our policy to prevent the licensed private hire driver from using our app while we investigate.”

Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager for Taxi & Private Hire, said: “These are serious allegations and we are working with the police to urgently investigate them.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2721125/wheelchair-cyclist-road-rage-uber/?tm_content=bufferc984c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Man Claims Uber Driver Beat Him Unconscious In University City

“He’s lucky to be alive,” says the attorney for Joseph Fusco, public safety director at Cabrini College.

BY VICTOR FIORILLO  |  JANUARY 6, 2017 AT 5:59 PM

Image-uploaded-from-iOS.jpg


Three days before Christmas, Cabrini College director of public safety Joseph Fusco attended a holiday party in University City, organized by the security company Allied Universal. He drank with his friends and colleagues, as one is apt to do at a holiday party, and around 11 p.m., he requested an Uber to his home in Cherry Hill. And that, he claims, is when his troubles began.

Fusco, 30, says he got into the Toyota Corolla that showed up near 39th and Market streets, sitting in the front passenger seat. Once the driver realized that the destination was all the way over in New Jersey — Uber drivers don’t know where they are taking you until they pick you up — Fusco says the driver refused to take him there. Fusco protested. Words were exchanged. And then the driver physically removed him from the car and assaulted him, according to allegations contained in a lawsuit just filed against Uber in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Fusco claims that the driver beat him, leaving him in a pool of blood on the ground, and then kicked and stomped him repeatedly while he laid there unconscious. After the driver left the scene, two bystanders allegedly came upon Fusco’s body and called 911. He was taken to nearby Presbyterian Hospital. According to a police report filed by the University of Pennsylvania Police Department, Fusco’s most serious injuries include a broken nose and a fractured left cheek, and two of his teeth were knocked out.

The lawsuit contends that Uber refused to provide police with the driver’s full name and other identifying information, but Uber claims that the company has been cooperating with investigators and that the suspect is no longer driving for Uber. (University of Pennsylvania police confirm that their investigation is ongoing but decline to comment on the case or Uber’s level of cooperation in it.)

To add insult to injury—literally—Fusco claims that the driver charged him for a 28-minute ride into North Philadelphia. To date, he says, he hasn’t been refunded.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” says Marlton-based attorney Matthew Luber, who is representing Fusco.

The suit accuses Uber of fraud, negligence, assault and battery, among other offenses, and seeks unspecified damages.


Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/01/06/uber-lawsuit-joseph-fusco/#W4bZqf6Izj4EJvdj.99

Uber driver leaves woman stranded 75 miles from home on trip back from hospital

by Christy Wilcox, KSNV

Tuesday, December 27th 2016

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Holly Tennant said she ordered an Uber driver to get home after getting out of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, but halfway to her home in Lake Havasu, the driver told her he wasn't going any farther. Tennant ended up at the Las Vegas hospital after suffering complications from multiple surgeries she had had over the past few weeks, including removing a decade-old lap band.

The closest hospital able to treat her during the Christmas holiday was in Las Vegas.

An ambulance took her from Lake Havasu to Las Vegas, but when she finished recovering two days after she had arrived, the only way she could get home effectively was to order an Uber.

"Just seemed like the logical thing. I could lay down and someone else would drive," said Tennant.

Tennant said her husband is caring for her 94-year-old mother and 11-year-old son with autism; having them pick her up wasn't an option. She said she was feeling good on Christmas Day when she left the hospital. After arranging for the driver to take her home, she fell asleep in the back seat of the Dodge truck. Tennant said when she woke up she was at the Chevron gas station in Palm Gardens, Nevada – both 75 miles from Las Vegas and still 75 miles from her home in Lake Havasu. She said after arguing with the driver, he gave her an ultimatum to either drive back to Las Vegas or get out of his truck and call another driver. After fumbling with the app, she discovered her lack of cell service would not allow her to get another driver, and went inside the gas station.

"He said, 'I am not going to take you further. If my phone doesn't work, I am not getting paid,'" said Tennant.

A worker at the gas station helped take care of her until her husband arrived to pick her up two hours later. Vance Vogelheim, who saw her during his shift, said they see stranded people at the gas station often and help customers who break down or don’t have gas money to go any farther, but this was an experience he has not yet had.

"There was a lady sitting here with a pillow and some blankets and some other items. She was waiting for a ride, she was stuck," said Vogelheim.

Tennant paid for her partial trip and canceled the second half, which would have cost her an extra $89. Her husband picked her up hours later.

An Uber spokesperson said distance and location are what the driver and rider agree on, and released this statement:

"We are saddened to have learned the details described about this rider's experience as she attempted to travel home to be with her family for the holidays. Riders who use Uber expect reliable, high-quality service from their drivers. We’re disappointed when an experience does not meet that standard, and we’re working to resolve it.”

Uber said it is currently reviewing the situation. The company added that after every trip, both drivers and riders are able to rate their experiences, which helps keep all participants accountable.

http://foxbaltimore.com/news/offbeat/uber-driver-leaves-woman-stranded-75-miles-from-home

FORMER UBER DRIVER ARRESTED, ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING FEMALE PASSENGER

 

By Pooja Lodhia

Thursday, December 08, 2016 11:04PM

HOUSTON (KTRK) --

A former Uber driver has been arrested and accused of sexually assaulting one of his passengers in northeast Houston.

The woman claims Qahtan Talib sexually assaulted her while they were parked at a gas station in June.The victim initially told ABC13 that she was drinking with her friends in downtown Houston. She continued celebrating at her friend's home in north Houston. After she walked to the Chevron gas station on Irvington Boulevard, she called her husband to come pick her up.


Instead, he called Uber.

Surveillance video shows the victim and Talib in a car together for 11 minutes."I feel so embarrassed, but I passed out. And when I woke up, he had his hand inside me and was kissing my neck," she said.

Police said he denied assaulting her, but couldn't explain what they were doing in the car together.

Talib was let go, but was arrested after DNA tests showed he couldn't be excluded as a match.

"I'm glad there is an end in sight as far as, you know, him getting charged and possibly being punished," the victim added.

http://abc13.com/news/uber-driver-arrested-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-passenger/1647153/

 

Uber Driver Under Investigation after Woman’s ‘Creepy’ Ride

POSTED 8:01 AM, NOVEMBER 24, 2016, BY NICOLE COMSTOCK

SACRAMENTO -- An Uber driver was removed from the platform and is now under a law enforcement investigation after a young woman from Sacramento reported that he made sexual advances toward her during a ride, took a detour from their route and then refused to drop her off.

"How dare you make a move on me and make me feel that uncomfortable to the point that I thought I was going to get kidnapped," she said.

The young woman spoke to FOX40 on camera, but did not want to be identified by her name. We are not revealing the name of the Uber driver or showing his picture because he has not been charged with any crime. However, she posted the man's old Uber account photo on Facebook, in a post that garnered nearly 4,000 shares overnight.

She said she greeted the Uber driver who picked her up at a friend's house near Carmichael, he seemed like a nice guy. Immediately into the twelve minute ride, she says he said that he was "just a lonely guy driving for Uber," and that he "hadn't gotten any in a while." She said that was when he started making sexual advances toward her and looking down her shirt.

"He was saying, you can show me something if you want, and I was like, 'what?!' And he was like you, like, you're just my type and if you want to show me something you can. And then I was just kind of drew in like this. I was trying to be as cordial as I could so he didn't do anything and he didn't further his pervertedness," she said.

The part that scared her the most, was when she said the driver took a detour from their route, pulled onto a residential street and stopped the car in a driveway. She said she told him that was not where she requested to be driven to, and he told her that it was, and that that was where the GPS led him. On a screen shot of the route she showed FOX40, it did appear that the driver made this detour, and then continued back on the path. She said she got scared and asked him to drop her off at a nearby gas station but he refused, saying it wasn't safe.

"And I was like, well it's not safe in here," she said.

She said she texted her dad and told him the Uber driver was making her uncomfortable, and that her dad called her immediately. She said when her dad heard the driver telling her he wouldn't let her out, he yelled at the driver, and he let her out at the gas station.

Uber told FOX40 that as soon as she reported the alleged incident, they revoked the Uber drivers privileges on the app, and that he had not driven anyone for Uber since. They said Uber drivers do have to sign off on literature before they start working for the company, which explains appropriate conduct.

They also responded to FOX40 in writing, saying:
WHAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED HERE IS UNACCEPTABLE TO US AND WE HAVE REMOVED THIS DRIVER'S ACCESS PENDING THE OUTCOME OF A POLICE INVESTIGATION.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department told FOX40 that the young woman did file a report with them, and that they were investigating. They could not comment on what charges, if any, the driver could face in the future.

"You sir, are 100% a creep," she said.

http://fox40.com/2016/11/24/uber-driver-under-investigation-after-womans-creepy-ride/?utm_content=bufferaed1a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

A North Texas Family Gets Outrageous Uber Charge


November 9, 2016 10:20 PM By Jeff Paul

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Taken for a ride, a DFW family is in shock after discovering a near $400 Uber charge after their first Dallas Cowboys game.

Laurie Smith said about an hour after the Eagles game on October 30th, she requested an Uber XL for her family to get home to Keller.

The trip to AT&T stadium cost them about $40 earlier in the day.

But the 20-mile, 30-minute trip home ended up costing them $362.81

“It’s literally highway robbery,” said Smith. “I just thought it was a rip off. I mean, how could you charge nine times the amount I paid to drive one place to hear just to go back.”

Smith said their Uber driver first drove them to the wrong side of Arlington, then rerouted back to their home in Keller.

The charge did not appear until after they got out of the vehicle.

“I could have taken a stretch limo if I wanted,” said Smith.

After sending several emails and reporting the ride, Uber offered to refund $79.

Uber told Smith there was “surge pricing” that night. Smith said there was no warning of it on her phone or app.

“I’m familiar with the surge charges, I’ve had one before,” said Smith.

What she does not understand, Smith’s Uber app shows after the refund, she was charged $283.81 cents. But further down on the trip details and receipt, it shows the total that night was $43.36 with no mention or explanation of surge charges.

“If they had told us that, we would have never gotten in the car. We could have gotten a taxi,” said Smith.

Smith said it is not about the money, but about warning others.

“There might be some young couple who spent all of their money to get tickets here and then they’re going to get ripped off by Uber,” said Smith. “It’s going to ruin their time.”

After several emails, a spokesperson responded and said it looks like there was surge pricing. Uber is now checking to see if the user was properly warned or if any other issues arose from the ride.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/11/09/a-north-texas-family-gets-outrageous-uber-charge/

Portland man gets $140 Uber charge for East Coast ride he didn't take

 

STOLEN PASSWORDS FOR APPS LIKE UBER ARE POPPING UP ON THE BLACK MARKET, AND IF YOU DON'T PAY ATTENTION YOU COULD BE PAYING FOR SERVICES YOU NEVER RECEIVED. 

Kyle Iboshi

Portland, Ore. — Jonathan Woolworth took one epic Uber ride. He traveled 83 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Storrs, Connecticut. The ride cost him $140.92.

Just one problem: Jonathan Woolworth was sitting at his desk in Portland, Oregon. 

His Uber account had been hacked.

“I looked at my phone and was like, Boston to Connecticut?  Ah, haven’t been there in a while,” said Woolworth.

The Portland man’s case helps illustrate how cybercriminals are hijacking Uber accounts to take free rides, or “ghost rides.”

“I’ve had personal information stolen before but I was never freaked out like this,” said Woolworth. “It was on my phone.”

A KGW investigation found stolen Uber accounts and passwords for sale on the online Black Market. 

One seller offered hacked Uber accounts for $6.99 each. 

Other sellers offered stolen passwords for Netflix, HBO GO and other subscription-based services. “Fast deliver, no problems,” read one review. 

“If there is a customer willing to pay for it, then there’s going to be a market for it,” explained technology security researcher Ken Westin.

It’s unlikely the stolen account information came from a massive data breach at Uber, explained Westin.  Instead, cybercriminals likely harvested the stolen information from phishing attacks. 

Crooks will send a password reset link by email or text, fooling customers into sharing sensitive information.

If the bad guy gets access to one account, they can sometimes hack into many more.

“Always assume that you are going to be breached. One account is going to be breached at any given time,” said Westin. “You can reduce that risk by having separate passwords for each one of those websites or services.”

Woolworth recalled receiving a realistic-looking notification from Uber just before his account was hacked. It asked him to reset his account information.

“It had the little Uber icon and it said, ‘Uber needs you to update your personal information. I was like, okay, no big deal,” said Woolworth.

After he realized his account was hacked, Woolworth emailed Uber.

One of the perks of Uber -- not having to deal with a real person – was problematic for Woolworth. He couldn’t reach a real human being; instead, he had to file a complaint through email.  

“They really didn’t understand the human interaction or the human frustration,” said Woolworth.

Uber said it appropriately handled the situation.

“We responded to him and refunded the trip the same day. We also helped him reset his password and secure his account,” said Uber spokesperson Melanie Ensign in an email to KGW.

To avoid having your accounts hacked, here are a few tips:

1.    Use a different password for every account.

2.    Change your password at least once a year.

3.    Watch out for requests to reset passwords. Typically, they’re bogus.

4.    Monitor your accounts and report any suspicious activity.

http://www.nwcn.com/news/investigations/portland-man-gets-surprise-140-uber-bill-after-account-hack/349510585?utm_content=bufferd7def&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Paterson man charged with sexually assaulting passenger was driving for Uber, company confirms

OCTOBER 19, 2016, 1:15 PM LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016, 4:54 PM

BY STEVE JANOSKI

THE RECORD

A judge denied a bail reduction Wednesday for an Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting a Wyckoff woman in the driveway of her parents’ home.

Al-quon Hopkins, of Paterson, appeared before Central Judicial Processing Court Judge John A. Conte, Jr. via video conference from the Bergen County Jail where he is being held on $250,000 bail.

Authorities allege that Hopkins, 31, sexually assaulted a 27-year-old woman who had used the online service for a ride home. The woman called the Wyckoff police around 2 a.m. Monday to report the assault, which authorities said took place in Hopkins’ car.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Hopkins sat on a white plastic chair with his chin up and his eyes looking straight ahead during the roughly 5 minute long proceeding.

His attorney, Kenyatta Stewart, entered a not guilty plea on Hopkins’ behalf and asked the judge to reduce his bail to $100,000 because he has no criminal history and is a “hard working young man.”

Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Fitzpatrick told Conte that the current $250,000 bail “isn’t even the ceiling” for the charge.

Fitzpatrick said Hopkins sexually assaulted an “intoxicated person” and that authorities have “an admission.”

“The bail was set by the state and I don’t see any reason for this court to reduce it,” Conte said, adding that Hopkins could apply to Superior Court to have it lowered.

Outside the courtroom Stewart said he plans to file a bail reduction application Thursday.

As for the admission, he said, “they might have an admission of them having sex. I don’t think they have an admission of him raping her.”

Stewart said that Hopkins has never even had a speeding ticket.

“Not to make light of any rape victim,” the defense attorney said, “but when we get to the bottom of this I think we’re going to find two adults made the decision to have sex.”

Judge Conte said, should Hopkins make bail, he is barred from working as a livery driver.

Uber has also banned him, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday

The Uber spokeswoman called Hopkins’ alleged behavior “horrific,” and said it was a “clear violation” of the company’s community guidelines prohibiting inappropriate or sexual conduct.

“Uber is aware of the incident, and we are working to assist the local police in their investigation,” she said, adding that Hopkins will not be allowed to access the Uber app to work as a livery driver in the future.

The incident comes as Uber continues to aggressively recruit new drivers, and it follows a series of similar alleged assaults by Uber drivers that have been reported across the country. Drivers in Boston, Chicago, San Antonio, Palo Alto, and San Diego County have been arrested in recent months for sexual assault, and another Uber driver was arrested in Toronto for the same crime.

In response, a new California law will require ridesharing companies to conduct local and national background checks for all drivers starting in 2017. Violators could be fined up to $5,000 per offense.

The Wyckoff police notified the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, and the agencies arrested Hopkins later on Monday near his home. He was charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and was taken to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack.

His $250,000 bail does not include the option of paying 10 percent to be released. Hopkins is to have no contact with the woman if he does post bail, and must surrender his passport.

He is due back in court on Nov. 10.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/paterson-man-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-passenger-was-driving-for-uber-company-confirms-1.1679539

Uber driver allegedly punches woman in the face in Atlanta

Kristen Reed, WXIA   10/18/2016

ATLANTA - An Atlanta woman was left with a black eye after a ride with an Uber driver Saturday.

Anna Armas and her friend Hanna Gordola requested an Uber and were picked up on Irwin Street Saturday evening.  According to the police notes, Armas asked the driver why he was going "the long way" which led to an argument.

They were then told to get out of the car.

"When she asked again, the guy told them to get out. Anna stated that she called the guy a "dumb ass". The guy said say it again, and when she did; he punched her in the face, causing her to fall down. The guy then drove off."

Attorney Sandy Becher is representing Armas said his client was "beaten in her face by a man, brutally."

The driver, Mr. Yero Bandele also filed a police report.   He alleges the woman slapped him after calling him several derogatory names and says he pushed her before leaving the scene,  Bandele told police he did not want to press charges against the woman. 

The two women said they have video of the driver and the incident.

Becher described the incident as a "savage beating" and said they plan to hold Uber responsible.

"Uber has tried to contact my client. She is unable to talk. She's very traumatized. She's injured both physically and psychologically," Becher said.

In a statement to 11Alive, Uber said they are looking into the matter and have suspended the driver's app so that he cannot pick up anyone else. The Uber representative said this is standard practice.

 

 

http://www.11alive.com/mb/news/local/uber-driver-punches-woman-in-the-face-in-atlanta/336970072

Uber driver who called woman a black c*** and punched her in the face walks free

  • HATTY COLLIER 
  • 10/18/2016

    An Uber driver who punched a woman in the face and called her a black c*** during a row over drop-offs walked free from court today.

    Taleka White, 27, was dragged out of a minicab and hit twice across the face after her driver, Shahab Akbar, 33, flew into a rage in Addiscombe, south London. 

    Her face smashed into the ground after she was sent flying by the second blow, Croydon magistrates' court heard. 

    Akbar, who had been an Uber driver for just under two years on the night of the incident on November 29 last year, was handed a 16 week suspended prison sentence and a community order at a hearing today. 

    Non-emergency paramedic Ms White, who has a four-year-old son, was left terrified and injured after the attack, with a lump on her head, bruising to her face and a bloodied wrist and knuckles.

    In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms White said: "This has been a nightmare part of my life and has left me broken in a way and I never thought that was possible.”

    Prosecutor Angela Mahadeo told the court the two women had taken a lift using the Uber minicab app after a night out in Croydon town centre on Saturday November 29.

    “She recalls seeing the minicab speeding away. Her mother opened the door and saw her outside bleeding.” 

    Akbar, who is married to a teacher, had his private hire vehicle licence revoked after the incident and no longer drives for Uber.

    He maintains that he is innocent. 

    Mitigating, Ernest Aduwa told the court it was an “isolated incident” and that Akbar, of Lampits, Hertfordshire, was of a man of good character with no previous convictions.

    “Whilst he doesn’t accept that he committed the offence. He does accept that the behaviour alleged is unacceptable,” Mr Aduwa said.

    “He would like me to tell the court that this whole experience has been embarrassing for him and has been quite traumatic and left him feeling ashamed.” 

 Spokesman for Uber said: “We were appalled by this horrific incident. Uber does not tolerate violence or discrimination of any kind.

"We assisted the police with their investigation and immediately stopped this licensed driver from being able to use our app."

Sentencing District Judge Roscoe said: “The court found you guilty of pulling her out of the car, punching her twice in the face and calling her a black c***. 

“There is no excuse for that whatsoever. You have shown limited remorse.”

He added: “Your conduct on this night will have a lasting effect on Ms White. 

“The injuries may heal but she has been left with an apprehension and a worry and fear that things might happen if she takes a minicab again, which will live with her for much longer.”

Akbar was sentenced to a 16 week prison sentence suspended for two years and a 200 hour community order.

He was ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the victim, an £150 victim surcharge and £600 in costs.  

  • http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/uber-driver-who-called-woman-a-black-c-and-punched-her-in-the-face-walks-free-a3372241.html