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Uber executives allegedly admit its business is illegal in file leak

The recent leak of communications and other files at Uber highlight a campaign to evade authorities and lobby politicians to keep the business going.


Uber has generally acted as a driver and delivery service that proved to be highly profitable while drivers in its gig economy struggled. The legality of employee pay, rights, protections, and benefits have often been topics of contentious discussion over the years with authorities cracking down on Uber here and there, but a recent leak of files from the company paints a bigger picture of its leadership’s mood on the matter. Quite simply, leads at Uber allegedly know their business practices are illegal and try to circumvent the rules anyways.

The Uber Files leaks were shared in a recent file dump which apparently came from former Uber lobbyist Mark MacGann, as reported on by UK outlet Tribune. The leaks include lead correspondence and communications from 2013 to 2017, including around 124,000 files and documents. Said documents include a number of troubling allegations about the company, including bending laws, working around authorities, and lobbying politicians and powerful groups, all while keeping drivers and further low-rung employees under thumb.

“Sometimes we have problems because, well, we’re just f***ing illegal,” Uber head of global communications Nairi Hourdajian shared in a 2014 message sent to a colleague.

Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam pose in front of the UK Supreme Court
Groups like the App Drivers & Couriers Union in the UK have fought against Uber in court, including whether or not they are classified as "self-employed."
Source: ADCU Union

Further files and communications from the Uber Files leak include leads using connections in government to appeal to Middle Eastern and European leadership to keep the company from being regulated out of existence. The company even supposedly had a “kill switch” built to remotely encrypt its computers, data bases, and servers, should the company ever raided by authorities. These are reportedly just a few of the allegations detailed in the leak.

For its part, Uber has not exactly denied the information exposed in the leak. In a statement to The Guardian, Uber spokespersons claim the leaks are indicative of a time at the company which has passed and is long gone compared to how the company operates today.

Whether Uber believes the leak is relevant or not, it paints a very distinct (and undenied) picture of a company that has skirted rules and laws to grow as big as it has. It will remain to be seen if this has any implications for Uber in the future. However, as media outlets continue to share details from the leak, it would appear that Uber is set to go on defense for quite some time ahead. Stay tuned for further updates here at Shacknews as they become available.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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