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      Uber ‘tech bros’ sought to destroy Australian taxi app using corporate espionage, court hears / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 2 April - 06:05

    GoCatch operator Taxi Apps also accuses rideshare giant of serious misconduct as Victorian supreme court trial begins

    Uber “tech bros” set out to destroy an Australian taxi app when the US company moved in on the nation’s hire car market and started running an illegal rideshare service, lawyers claim.

    Taxi Apps, the company behind GoCatch, is suing Uber in the supreme court of Victoria, claiming the rideshare giant knowingly launched UberX illegally in Australia with the intention of injuring GoCatch.

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      Big brands keep dropping X over antisemitism; $75M loss, report estimates / ArsTechnica · Monday, 27 November - 19:22

    Big brands keep dropping X over antisemitism; $75M loss, report estimates

    Enlarge (credit: Pool / Pool | Getty Images Europe )

    The latest advertiser fallout on X , the platform formerly known as Twitter, could end up costing Elon Musk's company much more than the $11 million in revenue that the company previously estimated could be "at risk" due to backlash over antisemitic content on X.

    According to internal X sales team documents reviewed by The New York Times , X may lose "up to $75 million" as more than 100 major brands—including Airbnb, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and Uber—have stopped advertising, while "dozens" more are considering pausing ads on the platform.

    These sales team documents, The Times reported, "are meant to track the impact of all the advertising lapses" in November. On top of noting which brands have stopped advertising, the documents also flag brands at risk of halting ads. Ultimately, the sales team's goal is listing "how much ad revenue X employees fear the company could lose through the end of the year if advertisers do not return," The Times reported.

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      UK Supreme Court says Uber drivers are not independent contractors

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 19 February, 2021 - 17:14 · 1 minute

    UK Supreme Court says Uber drivers are not independent contractors

    Enlarge (credit: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

    The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that Uber drivers are legally workers, not self-employed contractors as Uber has argued in courts around the world. The ruling means that drivers in Britain and Northern Ireland are eligible for additional benefits and protections, including a minimum wage.

    Uber claims that it merely acts as a technology provider and broker between independent drivers and their customers—much as eBay facilitates sales between buyers and sellers. In Uber's view, this means that it doesn't owe its drivers benefits like unemployment insurance, doesn't need to reimburse drivers for their costs, and isn't bound by minimum wage and overtime rules. Uber emphasizes that its drivers are free to decide when, where, and how much they work.

    But critics point out that Uber exerts a lot more control over its drivers—and over the driver-passenger relationship—than a conventional platform like eBay or Airbnb. Uber sets fares, collects payments from customers, deducts its own fee, and remits the remainder to the driver. It requires drivers to accept a large majority of the rides they are offered. It handles customer complaints and kicks drivers off the platform if their average rating falls too low.

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      Uber: Bankrupt engineer Levandowski is hiding millions from creditors

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 18 February, 2021 - 18:12

    Anthony Levandowski in 2019.

    Enlarge / Anthony Levandowski in 2019. (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Famed self-driving engineer Anthony Levandowski was forced to declare bankruptcy last year after he lost a legal battle with Google over claims that he stole trade secrets on behalf of Uber. Now Uber is objecting to the proposed terms of his bankruptcy, arguing that he used legally dubious techniques to shelter his wealth from creditors.

    Levandowski faces a skeptical bankruptcy judge. "I continue to view many of the transactions in which Mr. Levandowski engaged immediately prior to the filing of this bankruptcy case with an incredibly jaundiced eye," said Judge Hannah Blumenstiel during a phone conference last week.

    Levandowski received tens of millions of dollars in compensation from Google in 2015 and 2016 for his work on self-driving technology. In October 2016, Google initiated an arbitration process to claw the money back, arguing that Levandowski had stolen trade secrets from Google on his way out the door. Uber alleges that Levandowski then took a number of steps to make it difficult for Google, Uber, or other creditors to get their money back.

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      Court says Uber can’t hold users to terms they probably didn’t read

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 January, 2021 - 22:33

    Court says Uber can’t hold users to terms they probably didn’t read

    Enlarge (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images )

    The highest state court in Massachusetts has rejected Uber's efforts to force a blind man's discrimination claims to be settled in arbitration. In the process, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court raised the bar for technology companies trying to impose one-sided terms of service on users without providing clear notice that they were doing so.

    When Christopher Kauders signed up for an Uber account several years ago, he had to fill out three screens of information. The third screen was titled "link payment" and offered users various ways to pay for Uber rides. Below these options was a message that stated that "by creating an Uber account, you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy."

    Users could click on a link to view these legal documents, but the app didn't require users to do so. At no point was Kauders required to click an "I agree" button.

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      Après plusieurs désastres, Uber met un « stop » à la conduite autonome

      Maxime Claudel · / Numerama · Tuesday, 8 December, 2020 - 08:56

    Uber a annoncé la revente de sa division dédiée au développement de la conduite autonome. Elle ne s'est jamais remise de l'accident ayant coûté la vie à une femme de 49 ans. [Lire la suite]

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    L'article Après plusieurs désastres, Uber met un « stop » à la conduite autonome est apparu en premier sur Numerama .

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      Uber sells self-driving project to startup Aurora

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 7 December, 2020 - 22:07

    A casually dressed man stands in front of a large automobile.

    Enlarge / Aurora CEO Chris Urmson in front of an Aurora semi truck. (credit: Aurora)

    Aurora, one of the nation's leading self-driving startups, will become the new owner of Uber's self-driving division, Aurora announced on Monday . In addition to turning over Uber's self-driving division, known as the Uber Advanced Technology Group (ATG), Uber will also pump $400 million into Aurora.

    In exchange, Uber will get a minority stake in Aurora and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will get a seat on Aurora's board.

    The deal allows Uber to unload a self-driving division that has struggled to regain its footing ever since an Uber ATG vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2018. Uber shut down its on-road testing for several months after that incident and the program has faced lingering public skepticism ever since. It's not clear if the deal will lead to layoffs at Uber ATG.

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      Arizona prosecutes Uber safety driver—but not Uber—for fatal 2018 crash

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 16 September, 2020 - 02:04

    A silver SUV with a damage grill is parked on a street at night.

    Enlarge / The Uber vehicle after it struck Elaine Herzberg. (credit: Tempe Police Department )

    An Arizona grand jury has indicted Rafaela Vasquez, a former safety driver in Uber's self-driving car project, for the 2018 death of pedestrian Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. Prosecutors decided not to charge Uber criminally last year.

    The crash occurred after dark on a well-lit stretch of Mill Avenue. Herzberg was crossing the multilane road when the Uber SUV struck her at 38 miles per hour. Footage from a driver-facing camera shows Vasquez looking down at her lap for more than five seconds just prior to the crash. Officials found that Vasquez had been streaming a reality show called The Voice to her phone just before the crash.

    Vasquez is being charged with negligent homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter that carries a recommended sentence of 2.5 years. However, the grand jury also charged that the crime was committed with a "dangerous instrument"—namely the car. When negligent homicide is committed with a dangerous weapon or instrument, the recommended sentence increases six years.

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      Former Uber security chief faces criminal charges for hiding 2016 breach

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 21:45

    Former Uber security chief faces criminal charges for hiding 2016 breach

    Enlarge (credit: Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

    Federal prosecutors have charged former Uber security chief Joe Sullivan with obstruction of justice for hiding a 2016 data breach from Federal Trade Commission investigators. Sullivan is now the chief security officer at Cloudflare.

    In an emailed statement, a spokesman for Sullivan said the government's charges have "no merit."

    "From the outset, Sullivan and his team collaborated closely with legal, communications and other relevant teams at Uber, in accordance with the company’s written policies," the spokesman wrote. "Those policies made clear that Uber’s legal department—and not Mr. Sullivan or his group—was responsible for deciding whether, and to whom, the matter should be disclosed."

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