DailyPost 2121

Papers and files as per popular perception belong to the domain of governance. What sometimes tumble out in the public domain, generally put the world on flames; uproar over things unknown and at times unacceptable. Long many years back it has crossed the arena of governments and find private organizations being exposed in the same manner. The world has gone through a variety of leaks since the days of initial leaks on Wikileaks to Cambridge Analytica and now Uber files. Exclusive corporate files are coming out in the public domain depicting the worst of corporate governance, business development, business strategy and mercenary business gains at any cost.

Uber Files pertains to a leaked database of Uber’s activities in about 40 countries in between 2013 to 2017. It was leaked by former Uber senior executive Mark MacGann. It was published by The Guardian on 10th of July 2022, which shared the database of 124,000 files. The database was shared with ICIJ and 42 other media outlets. It included a comprehensive cache of documents from e-mails, to WhatsApp messages, to presentations and internal documents. The documents projects at an attempt and success of the worst from of lobby putting all business ethics in the dustbin and *making a mockery of the regulatory mechanism worldwide.

A taxi operator ruling the world. What an irony! The blue-eyed boy of the aggregator model of business; operated on software, apps and all other technologies to support a worldwide trade could not go wrong. The taxis / drivers fell into its lap as if the world has been waiting for it for all times. The business model took everybody by storm and they were able to do what they did. Wealth was promised without a commensurate business model. Senior political leaders feel for this strategy the world over; Joe Biden to Emmanuel Macron. They put the lobbying model upside down, as if the word was eager to lobby for them. Access to the powerful decision makers was made so smooth in a variety of ways. They perfected the art of playing football with the regulatory agencies.

Whether some tech entrepreneurs do it by design or by ignorance of the value and sanctity of governments and regulatory agencies only further investigation will tell. We have a bountiful of examples by now. It also gives a feeling with all the world business transforming with digital technologies, more so IT companies, the dirt of conventional business seems to have been carried over. When Uber offices were raided a ”kill switch” was used to cut access to the data systems. Greyball was a fake version of Uber App to fool the police, that displayed fake cars that would never arrive when contacted. Taxation was another they played with; one European example is mentioned. With regards to the Delhi case in 2014, a kill switch was used to prevent Indian authorities from accessing evidence. Ultimate hypocrisy between their stated stand and acts they performed.

Sanjay Sahay

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