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Member since: Tue Dec 20, 2016, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 159

Journal Archives

Uber Plans Millions in Back Pay After Shorting NYC Drivers

More Uber foolishness sees the light of day.

Uber Plans Millions in Back Pay After Shorting NYC Drivers


by Eric Newcomer | May 23, 2017

Uber Technologies Inc. said it underpaid its New York City drivers by improperly calculating the company’s share of passenger fares, and will pay out an average of $900 per driver in restitution, costing tens of millions of dollars.

The back pay could run at least $45 million, based on the approximately 50,000 drivers the Independent Drivers Guild says work in New York City.

The ride-hailing company has previously misled drivers about how much they could make and miscalculated fares. In this case, Uber was taking its cut of fares based on the pretax sum, instead of after taxes and fees as stated in its terms of service. The issue was also raised in a lawsuit against San Francisco-based Uber filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. In March, Uber acknowledged that it had underestimated drivers’ pay in Philadelphia by millions of dollars.

~ snip ~

The Taxi Workers Alliance said the payments Uber is offering didn’t go far enough. "While we welcome progress in Uber acknowledging its unlawful deductions, make no mistake: the full amount that they owe to drivers is much more than what it is now claiming," Bhairavi Desai, the Taxi Workers Alliance’s executive director, said in a statement. "Uber hasn’t just wrongly calculated its commission, it has been unlawfully taking the cost of sales tax and an injured worker surcharge right out of driver pay as opposed to charging it on top of the fare as the law requires."

~ snip ~

Uber Drivers Concerned About Upfront Pricing

Uber Starts Charging What It Thinks You’re Willing to Pay

The ride-hailing giant is using data science to engineer a more sustainable business model, but it’s cutting drivers out from some gains.


by Eric Newcomer | May 19, 2017

Uber drivers have been complaining that the gap between the fare a rider pays and what the driver receives is getting wider. After months of unsatisfying answers, Uber Technologies Inc. is providing an explanation: It’s charging some passengers more because it needs the extra cash.

The company detailed for the first time in an interview with Bloomberg a new pricing system that’s been in testing for months in certain cities. On Friday, Uber acknowledged to drivers the discrepancy between their compensation and what riders pay. The new fare system is called “route-based pricing,” and it charges customers based on what it predicts they’re willing to pay. It’s a break from the past, when Uber calculated fares using a combination of mileage, time and multipliers based on geographic demand.

Daniel Graf, Uber’s head of product, said the company applies machine-learning techniques to estimate how much groups of customers are willing to shell out for a ride. Uber calculates riders’ propensity for paying a higher price for a particular route at a certain time of day. For instance, someone traveling from a wealthy neighborhood to another tony spot might be asked to pay more than another person heading to a poorer part of town, even if demand, traffic and distance are the same.

~ snip ~

During the last year, Uber had attributed price discrepancies to the uncertainty around estimating fares, even as it was experimenting with techniques designed to exploit the imbalance between what customers were willing to pay and what drivers would take. The Rideshare Guy, a popular blog among drivers, conducted a study in New York City published in May, finding widespread disparities between rider fares and driver pay. Workers weren’t happy. “It is immoral and unethical behavior,” said Chris Estrada, who drives for Uber in Riverside, California.

~ snip ~

Evidence in Uber-Waymo case referred to criminal prosecutors

Source: Financial Times

5 hours ago by: Richard Waters

The judge overseeing the legal battle between Uber and Alphabet’s Waymo division has taken the unusual step of referring evidence against Uber in the case to criminal prosecutors.

In a brief order issued late on Thursday, Judge William Alsup said he had asked for the evidence presented by Waymo to be passed on to the US attorney “for investigation of possible theft of trade secrets based on the evidentiary record supplied thus far.”

~ snip ~

The referral to criminal prosecutors comes days after it emerged that the Department of Justice has already begun another criminal investigation into Uber over a separate issue. That case concerns an piece of software developed by Uber called Greyball, which was designed to mislead regulators about the company’s operations.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/73b93d45-cba8-368d-b2e4-974ee04e4c36

The high cost of UberArrogance?

Justice Department opens criminal probe into Uber

Source: Washington Post

By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg | May 4 at 9:41 PM

The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber’s use of a secret software that was used to evade authorities in places where its ride-hailing service was banned or restricted, according to a person familiar with the government’s probe.

The investigation is in its early stages, but deepens the crisis for the embattled company and its chief executive and founder Travis Kalanick, who has faced a barrage of negative press this year in the wake of high-profile sexual harassment complaints, a slew of high-level executive departures, and a consequential trade secrets lawsuit from Google’s parent company.

The federal criminal probe, first reported by Reuters, focuses on software developed by Uber called “Greyball.” The program helped the company evade officials in cities where Uber was not yet approved. The software identified and blocked rides to transportation regulators who were posing as Uber customers to prove that the company was operating illegally.

~ snip ~

In its earlier years, the company employed cutthroat tactics against its competitor Lyft At one point, Uber employees would summon Lyft drivers and then cancel rides. Kalanick once bragged about a feature, called “God View,” which it used to track a journalist and other noteworthy individuals. He has charged into legal battles with transportation regulators and taxi drivers in cities across the world

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/05/04/justice-department-opens-criminal-probe-into-uber
Posted by FrodosNewPet | Fri May 5, 2017, 12:16 AM (7 replies)

The U.S. Justice Department appears to be probing Ubers use of software to avoid regulators

Will Uber's hubris come back to bite them? Travis Kalanick DID publicly withdraw from 45's business advisory council, embarrassing the snowflake-in-chief, which loses him that protection.

The U.S. Justice Department appears to be probing Uber’s use of software to avoid regulators

The practice, known as “greyballing,” is the subject of the investigation, which may be criminal in nature.


by Tony Romm and Johana Bhuiyan May 4, 2017, 8:03pm EDT

The U.S. Justice Department appears to have opened an investigation into Uber following reports that the ride-hailing company used a special tool to evade regulators and law enforcement officials around the country.

In cities like Portland, Oregon, where Uber previously did not have permission to operate, the company in 2014 had relied on software known internally as “Greyball” to identify government officials and prevent them from booking rides. The New York Times first revealed Uber’s practice this March, leading the tech giant days later to say it would not use the system -- originally designed to detect fraud — to avoid scrutiny.

In their report on Uber’s behavior, however, Portland officials indicated last week that they had been notified by the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California that “Uber is the subject of a federal inquiry.” A report from Reuters on Thursday said the company specifically had received a subpoena from a grand jury there, meaning that the DOJ’s investigation is likely criminal in nature.

~ snip ~

For its part, Uber confessed to Portland officials in an April 21 letter that it had used “Greyball” to mask its UberX drivers over a two-week period in December 2014, when the company did not have permission to operate UberX in the city. The company suspended its operations there shortly after.

~ snip ~

Posted by FrodosNewPet | Fri May 5, 2017, 12:05 AM (0 replies)

Video shows Detroit Lyft driver in argument before shots fired

Source: WXYZ-TV

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Shots were fired at a Lyft driver in Detroit over the weekend, according to TripCam, a company that installs security software for on-demand drivers.

Detroit police confirm a report was filed about the incident which reportedly occurred on 1 a.m. Sunday near Lafayette and Jefferson.

The driver, Nick Hall, asked two riders to get out of his vehicle after a routine pick-up before an argument and gunshots followed, according to the company.

Video provided by TripCam shows the driver get out of his car to yell at the two men before the shots were fired.

~ snip ~

Read more: http://www.wxyz.com/news/video-shows-detroit-lyft-driver-in-argument-before-shots-fired

If you drive rideshare or cab, or know someone who does, please stay safe. Get a dash
cam. Keep in frequent touch with friends and family. And if a situation does not feel right, get out of there. Trust the inner voice.
Posted by FrodosNewPet | Tue May 2, 2017, 07:24 PM (0 replies)

An Uber engineer kills himself. His widow says the workplace is to blame.

An Uber engineer kills himself. His widow says the workplace is to blame.


Marco della Cava , USA TODAY Published 3:20 p.m. ET April 27, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Last April, Joseph Thomas, a 33-year-old self-taught African-American computer engineer, turned down a job at Apple in order to work for Uber. Five months later, he had killed himself, leaving a trail of questions about whether the company's fierce work culture was to blame.

~ snip ~

“Uber’s culture was different,” Zecole Thomas told USA TODAY. “Here was a man who was very good at what he did, who took care of his family. But within months, he started to tell me that he ruined our life. That he was broken.”

~ snip ~

“At Uber, when I asked to do that, Joe said, ‘No, don’t come, it’s not that kind of environment,” she says. What’s more, she says her husband felt his engineering skills were constantly called into question by superiors to the point where his self-esteem cratered.

“He would say, ‘I feel stupid, they’re all laughing at me,’ and yet this was a guy who was as hardworking, driven and focused as there ever was,” she says. “He only had one year of college, but if there was a coding language he didn’t know, he’d study hard and three months later get certificates saying he knew them. It’s all very heartbreaking.”

~ snip ~

Unroll.me 'heartbroken' after being caught selling user data to Uber

Unroll.me 'heartbroken' after being caught selling user data to Uber

After reports emerged it sold customer email data to Uber, inbox clean-up service Unroll.me has issued a true Silicon Valley non-apology.


by Claire Reilly | April 24, 2017 1:22 AM PDT

You know what they say: If you're not paying for the product, you are the product.

Now some are realising the price they paid for using free inbox clean-up service Unroll.me, after the company opened up about its practice of selling users' email data.

Unroll.me promises to organise your inbox by sorting subscription emails and letting you unsubscribe from the ones you don't want. But according to reports, Unroll.me also tracked emailed receipts sent by the ridesharing company Lyft, and sold them to Uber, Lyft's biggest competitor.

The revelation came in an excoriating report in The New York Times on Uber's attempts to succeed in Silicon Valley, which also included secretly identifying and tagging iPhone users, even after the app had been deleted from the users' phones. (In a statement Uber said, "We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they've deleted the app," but the company did not comment on the Unroll.me issue.)

~ snip ~

Uber secretly identified and tagged iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices eras

Source: Boing Boing

Mark Frauenfelder | 12:26 pm Sun Apr 23, 2017

~ snip ~

For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.

For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded.

~ snip ~

Read more: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/23/uber-secretly-identified-and-t.html

Tesla sued over 'dangerously defective' Autopilot software

Tesla sued over 'dangerously defective' Autopilot software


Kartikay Mehrotra | Bloomberg | April 20, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

~ snip ~

Drivers relying on the electric carmaker’s autonomous driving technology have “become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous,” according to a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.

Consumers allege their cars -- purchased for $81,000 to $113,000 -- veer off lanes while often “lurching, slamming on the brakes for no reason, and failing to slow or stop when approaching other vehicles" when Autopilot is activated.

~ snip ~

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