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Uber Can’t Seem to Escape Negative Attention
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Uber self-driving car

Summary: Uber is having a hard time getting out the spotlight for bad news with the latest blow being delivered by a judge to prosecutors suggesting they investigate the company.

Uber can’t seem to catch a break. They are hitting roadblocks in every direction and in just about every country. Their latest trouble comes from a federal judge who warned prosecutors of possible criminal misconduct of Uber or a key executive. The ride-hailing company is already dealing with a number of legal and image problems.

  
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The district judge, William Alsup, in San Francisco passed along a civil case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought by Waymo against Uber. Waymo alleges “theft of trade secrets.” The case could potentially initiate another investigation by the U.S. government into Uber, which has already been pushing boundaries and people since it was founded eight years ago.

Uber has been valuated at $68 billion but with repeated attacks to its image, it will be lucky if it can hang out. They have been hard at work to tackle the problem by implementing self-driving cars. Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is also deeply invested in the self-driving car business as well. They claim that an Uber executive who was once with their company stole their technology when he left the company. That technology is currently being fought over in court.

Experts believe an investigation is likely, which will cost money and time that Uber investors may not be willing to support. The fact that a judge was the one to tip off prosecutors is a strong sign that he was aware of a legitimate reason for an investigation to be held. Alsup noted in his order that he was not taking a position of whether the prosecution was warranted. Law and business professor Erik Gordon at the University of Michigan said, “This is not some private informant that slipped an envelope under the door at midnight. This is public and it’s a judge.”

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Columbia University law professor John Coffee added, “The possibility that you could get criminally indicted would be exactly the wrong thing for Uber,” in reference to CEO Travis Kalanick’s other challenges.

Uber is currently being investigated for allegedly using phony software to throw off city officials trying to determine if Uber is abiding by local regulations in two cities. The software in question, Greyball, appears to impede city inspectors.



Kalanick also quit President Donald Trump’s council of business leaders when customers started boycotting Uber. He was also recorded yelling at an Uber driver, resulting in the admission that he needed leadership help.

The European Union is not going easy on the company either. A judge there ruled Uber is a transport company, something they have been arguing against for a long time. This could require them to get licenses and permits in 28 EU nations.

Do you think Uber is a ride-hailing or transport company? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Uber’s latest legal woes, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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