Uber allegedly used 'kill switch' during raids so authorities couldn't gather evidence

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Uber is admitting to "mistakes and missteps" after a report said the company "exploited violence against drivers" and developed a system to thwart raids on its offices.

A new report from The Guardian was one of several based on over 124,000 leaked Uber documents from 2013 through 2017, including messages from co-founder Travis Kalanick. It says the rideshare company allegedly developed methods to thwart law enforcement, including a "kill switch," which involved instructing IT staff to "cut off access to the company's main data systems" when an office was raided in order to prevent authorities from gathering evidence.

This method was allegedly used "at least 12 times" in various raids, including in France and the Netherlands, The Guardian says. An Uber spokesperson said the kill switch software "should never have been used to thwart legitimate regulatory action" and that it stopped being used in 2017, and a spokesperson for Kalanick said the practice wasn't meant to obstruct justice.

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The report also alleged that Kalanick dismissed concerns that drivers sent to a protest in France would be at risk of violence. "I think it's worth it," Kalanick allegedly said. "Violence guarantee[s] success."

A Kalanick spokesperson told The Guardian he "never suggested that Uber should take advantage of violence at the expense of driver safety." Uber, meanwhile, acknowledged "mistakes and missteps" under Kalanick, who resigned as CEO in 2017.

"There is much our former CEO said nearly a decade ago that we would certainly not condone today," the spokesperson added.

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