1. Uber is subject to the laws in the jurisdictions in which it operates. Evading authorities is textbook obstruction of justice. Not only did Uber build software that they used to evade authorities & break local laws in multiple states and countries, but they profited from it (which has a variety of other RICO implications.)
2. Sure, corporations are people too, but, nonetheless, only people engage in civil disobedience. Related, for courts, a company that profits from violating of local laws is not a protester or freedom fighter battling injustice, it is criminal enterprise.
3. Charging Uber under RICO would by no means be unusual or a stretch; this is a quite run of the mill application of these laws. (eg see Preet Bharara's RICO prosecutions: https://www.google.com/search?q=preet+bharara+rico+prosectio... )
4. This is unquestionably a federal matter, within the DOJ's jurisdiction. Uber operates across state lines--and used Greyball in multiple jurisdictions. That said, Uber could & likely will face criminal investigation in other jurisdictions.
5. Finally, this is definitely not Trump's revenge on Travis. Not only does it simply not work that way--USAs are independent & it'd be beyond illegal, but this specific USA was appointed by Obama. (There were two Trump didn't fire; USA Stretch is one of them)
(*And, yes, I am a lawyer. And, many years ago, I worked at the Department of Justice)
Worse the drivers usually use a Lawyer selected and paid for by Uber, and guess what that lawyer isn't some independent traffic lawyer it's Uber's FL lobbyist. Though these charges are years old, last I check none were resolved and still $2M-$3M in fines owed to Miami.
To this day in Miami, it's not uncommon for drivers to allow undocumented immigrants without drivers licenses to use their Uber car/account.
I don't believe they misspelled anything but if you change the charge from illegal ride for hire to prostitution, drugs, etc... it's Fairly easy to see organized crime... some of our drivers/prositutes/dealers have got into legal trouble, while we work to lobby to change the law, you can hopefully avoid legal trouble by x,y,z but don't forget if you do get in legal trouble we will pay the fines and provide a lawyer (so you have no clue what's going on and we can cover our ass).
1. The way it was working in Miami is drivers would get 2 tickets when they were stopped, I think a. No taxi license; b. Illegal ride for hire. Both are $1,010 so a total of $2,020 per stop;
2. The laws escalate from civil penalties to criminal charges upon the 3rd such violation (I.e. 2nd stop could be criminal)
3. This also means 2 stops and you are out from your Uber driving
4. I don't think Uber has actually paid anyone's fines, at least it appears all these years later articles say the fines are still outstanding.
Would the people who chose employment through them as a preferable choice to other options (or unemployment) agree with you?
It's not just about them. These drivers are effectively working for 50% of what other drivers are making. This drives down the median wage for all other drivers, because more middle men will be able to step in and outcompete independent drivers. Overall, you get more people working longer hours for less compensation.
To what end? Who really benefits from this trend?
So then the solution to increasing wages is simply to ban hard-working, willing people from taking jobs! Brilliant. Let's force them to be unemployed just so that those who are allowed to work can make a bit more money.
The biggest flaw in your argument is that it completely leaves out the value of experience. Those lower-wage drivers are not signing up for a lifetime of low-wage driving, they are taking a job that they can leave after a few months after gaining useful/valuable experience.
The beauty of Uber is that it offers the opportunity of part-time commitment work to many people who have not had the option before.
Now, instead of pouring a stiff drink to reduce the stress of personal debt (for example) someone can hop in their car and make a few hundred dollars and actually do something about it. The impact of this on people's sense of being in control of their destiny is profound.
Yes, when the job is a systemic arbitrage of labor that externalizes costs and consequences in a way that's bad for society.
You might as well say 'so the solution to increasing wealth is simply to ban enterprising, daring people from robbing houses, stores and banks!' We're talking about the ways capital is exchanged in a dynamic with a labor and an owner class. To blindly assume the owner class cannot arbitrage labor is… kind of unobservant, when we've already got what they call a 'precariat'.
I get that some people want to believe a job as a fry cook (or Uber driver) is a step towards being a CEO, but there's already a CEO. These are not 'ladders of opportunity'. Most likely being unemployed or a dropout has higher odds of ending up the CEO.
edit: what makes you so sure about what's good for society?
Who is getting fucked over because of the job? Are you claiming that people choose those jobs over other, better jobs?
If I didn't own a car and was considering making a career as an Uber driver I'd happily accept a lower level of pay and rent someone else's car for a few months to get a sense of how much the job appealed to me and how hard I'd need to work to make money.
The person renting out the car is the one who has taken out loans and risk and now owns a depreciating asset. He or she must find someone to drive it, and depending on the supply of labor there will be a cost of hiring a driver (which is the driver's pay).
Who do you think needs to be stopped from doing business here? The one investing in renting the cars in hopes of finding drivers? Or the drivers who can't afford a car (or don't want to invest in one) but who want to earn a wage driving?
Or are you arguing that we need some wise arbiter of who can do what work, some sort of jobs minister or similar title?
If anyone wishes to learn more, here's an article to throw into Google Translate:
Just a taxi company using Uber.
Today, the drivers I get on UberX are almost universally bad. You get a 10 year old vehicle that is poorly maintained and unsafe (last couple rides have been a 2006 Ford Escape and a 2005 Chevy Bronco; both had bad tires and suspension and numerous dashboard warning lights lit). The drivers are immigrants with very poor english, who didn't have an EZ Pass for the tolls, and most likely were borrowing their friend or family member's car.
Unless I really have to now, I'm avoiding Uber and driving myself to the airport. Uber has proven they don't care about passenger safety, and only care about profits.
Surely that's a historical oddity courtesy of the economy at the time.
To pick on one point, I don't see educated people or millennials as likely to be better drivers.
Maybe not, but they are people who have options, and if they pick "driving for Uber" as their best option, we can assume that the conditions are pretty good, vs people for whom this is the only "job" they can get.
You do that. Me and the tens of thousands other riders will continue to use Uber for airport trips despite owning a car. I just wanted to counter your antecdote with mine.
This is literally my interaction with Uber drivers in Jordan. Originally just a convenience (available on demand, and that I don't speak Arabic), I've started getting nervous when using Uber because they aren't licensed in Jordan and drivers always have the discussion with me about sitting up front, telling the police that "we met in English class", etc.
Why do people still argue that? It makes no sense to me, even as a non-lawyer (but I've watched People's Court :))
Otherwise El Chapo could be arguing the same, I believe in people's rights to use drugs so I'm breaking every law in the books and making billions "while fighting for their rights"
(Goes without saying that Uber's attempts to make their VCs happy are weak tea in comparison, yeah?)
(Noted not to dispute your point about civics education, but to stress this to other people who may not have been taught this.)
What about people in Nazi Germany hiding others? They were of course very secretive about it -- not being secretive certainly meant you and your charges being sent to a camp, and possibly outright death. Similar things happened with the underground railroad in the US. I would still gladly classify those people as civil disobedients.
Maybe there's a difference when you're protecting others? You can't risk being discovered, because then those who depend on you will also likely be discovered, and you won't be available to continue helping.
I think the difference is that if you are disobedient in the (current) USA then you will be dragged through an actual justice system and get the chance to make a case for future law changes etc.
People persecuted in Nazi Germany did not get the chance to argue their case in a court of law or public opinion. They just got taken away.
The martyr approach works well if your goal is to get society to recognize an issue and fix it. It's like an extreme form of demonstrations; the entire point is to be seen and generate discontent. This discontent becomes the energy that changes the status quo.
But if you're not capable of (or uninterested in) changing the status quo, but just want to "do the right thing", then evading detection is a much better approach.
Or you smuggle a persecuted across the US border it might still be illegal for you but you're breaking the law for a humanitarian reason. However, if you charge $5000 a person, any person from MS-13 to Isis to day laborers bring your toothbrush
Evasion generally has to do with mandatory liabilities and provisions. For example - tax avoidance and evasion. It's legal to plan your activities to avoid incurring a tax. It's illegal to take an action that results in a tax liability and then not pay it or attempt to hide it.
For me, what Uber did is akin to avoiding roads that are known speed traps. Yes, Uber is required to obey the laws of the jurisdiction they are in, but they are also able to deny service to anyone for any reason so long as that reason does not fall under a protected class (age, race, gender, etc.). Refusing service for being a suspected member of law enforcement is allowed. Just as certain small businesses provide discounts to law enforcement in appreciation of their service, others can refuse to serve them.
The issue of whether or not what Uber did was illegal seems to hinge upon whether or not the underlying activity was illegal. It sounds to me (and has been stated elsewhere) that many of the jurisdictions where this was being used have unclear or incomplete ride-sharing and booking laws. This would make the activities by Uber up for legal debate, just like the Uber legal battle in CA on whether to classify drivers as employees or contractors. If there's not a consensus or existing legal precedent that a specific activity is illegal, you can't say that their activity is evasion because the activity they are trying to "hide" hasn't been ruled in court to actually be illegal because this situation is still relatively new and hasn't been adjudicated on yet. Once we have a decision by the courts on the underlying activity, then yes, using Greyball to avoid authorities would be illegal.
It is true that Uber consistently claims that laws that apply to commercial livery do not apply to them--whether it was ever true is debatable. Courts have not been sympathetic to this claim. But, regardless, now, years later, legislatures & city councils have added "ridesharing" to their laws.
Finally, regardless of Uber, there is no technicality that somehow makes obstruction of justice legal in any jurisdiction. And building a piece of software only makes it worse, as it immerses what is a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice across many jurisdictions and involves anyone who built or used it.
Evasion - for Portland, they haven't been formally approved from what I read. Doesn't necessarily mean that because they aren't formally approved that the actions are illegal. But I also see that Portland passed a law in Dec 2015 to allow Uber and Lyft on a permanent basis under existing transportation laws that would require them to provide trip data to the city, conduct background checks, etc.
Trying to avoid contact in the course of an investigation or other formal proceedings is generally not illegal. Think about process servers trying to serve papers like subpoena's, decrees, or other court documents on behalf of the state. It's not illegal to avoid those people and try to hide from them. You don't get obstruction or evasion charges even if you are fully aware they are trying to serve you and make efforts to avoid them.
Re Portland: this is factually inaccurate. Uber admitted they used Greyball when they were operating illegally in Portland. Yes, Portland & Uber have since come to an agreement, but not even Uber claims they were operating legally when they used Greyball to evade law enforcement..
Kindly, the challenge with explaining this to non-lawyers is that you do not know what you do not know, but think you do, & use words differently than an officer of a court does.
The example of a process-server is simply not a relevant comparison. Proccess-serving has a lot of TV-created urban legendry around it. Yes, you can try to avoid being served & but, no, you can't ignore a court order or a subpoena by avoiding a process server. If you try to hide, they'll eventually just mail the summons to you.
Regardless, process-serving has nothing to do with what Uber already admitted to doing: building & using software in CA to evade law enforcement in, eg Portland, which is a jurisdictions where they knew they were operating illegally.
This is obstruction of justice.
Regarding process servers - yes, they will issue a substitute service and then mail it to you, sure. But my point was that you won't be arrested for trying to hide.
I do totally understand the challenge you face as a lawyer talking to a non-lawyer, lol. I thank you for your comments and additional information.
Uber publicly admitted they built it, that they were still using it, tried to defend its use (for driver safety), and then, a week later, reversed themselves & agreed to stop using it to evade law enforcement, "going forward."
I cannot imagine why Uber chose to admit all that. (Well, other than there were at least 50 people who worked on Greyball & who knows how many more knew, so maybe there was not much choice...lying wasn't going to cut it & lawsuits were already certain) Nonetheless, its a lot of admissions.
Here's the thing: there are legitimate uses for Greyball (driver safety, as they asserted), but evading law enforcement, which they've now admitted, is not one of them--and, as said over and over, is obstruction of justice.
Uber'll undoubtedly try to defend Greyball on this basis (that there are non illegal uses for it--and that was the overwhelming majority of what it was used for)...it wouldn't have worked but, now with their own reversal & public admissions, it'd be hard to even make such an argument)
anyway, here are a few links about Greyball & Portland:
18 U.S.C. 1001 is a great place to start, but doesn't necessarily tell you what the current interpretation of the law is. To determine what that is, you need to determine which cases are leading and how they were interpreted, then you need to go back and apply it to the facts. This is a weaker offence, but seems more likely to stick if raised.
From there you can move into RICO specific issues at 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968 (emphasis on 1961-1963). From 1961 you can find the offenses that trigger RICO. Check out section 1510 specifically. I think the RICO link here is weak, but I haven't gone through all the case law.
Spoilation is another good jumping-off point for understanding the relevant principles.
The concern with any of these one-off avenues, though, is that they're individually non-comprehensive. Note that the terms in each of these three segments are different despite the fact that they're talking about subtle variations on the same thing.
That's not quite right. The issue of whether or not Uber tried to hide activities from authorities is separate from whether the activity was itself illegal. It's possible to face an obstruction of justice charge even if the investigation you are obstructing is looking at legal activity or ultimately does not result in a prosecution.
For example, Martha Stewart was convicted of obstruction of justice (and lying and conspiracy) even though she was not actually charged with insider trading.
What Martha Stewart did was lie to authorities during the course of a formal investigation in an attempt to convince them that she did nothing wrong and end the investigation. That's completely and entirely different. It's also, by the way, the reason you should never speak to authorities, especially if you are the subject of the investigation. Exercise your right to silence. She chose to speak up and lied. If she kept her mouth shut she might have been able to escape prosecution. Anytime you open your mouth to authorities you open yourself up to one of these obstruction charges. The easiest solution is to just not cooperate one iota with them. Because as soon as you stop playing ball and doing what they want, they will try to use any one of the gazillion laws on the books to try and screw you. Not saying Martha is/was innocent. That's just my take on how I view a person's options when in that situation.
Obstruction charges usually stem from providing false testimony or evidence, tampering with evidence, or witness tampering. None of those, nor any related actions, are applicable here.
They operated in cities and other areas where they were explicitly prohibited from doing so.
They camouflaged their activities (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14270534) and shadowbanned regulators
So, not only did they not avoid the metaphorical "speed traps", it's more like they covered over the license plates and intentionally sped through them.
Further, it's entirely possible to be cited for "illegal operation" in a jurisdiction that generally allows Uber drivers' activity. Certain areas are zoned for specific purposes. For example, my friend runs a limo service and there are areas that they are not allowed to pick up passengers for whatever reason, even though the ride is planned in advance. That friend has also been cited (incorrectly) for illegal pickups at the airport as if they were Uber, when they are not and the ride was planned days ago.
My point here is that Uber could still be allowed by law (in general) to operate in a district but a driver's specific actions may violate some smaller aspect of the local law with regards to livery/transportation rules.
Yeah, and if Uber had drivers breaking the law and making money for Uber it would be pretty naive to assume that a company like Uber doesn't know that this money was made in areas where Uber was not allowed to operate or illegal. That too, we are talking about a company which is an expert on location tracking. I don't think such an argument could even remotely fly in a decent court of law.
What I linked to says "Uber sent emails to driver training them on avoiding detection (e.g. When at airport take down phone; have drivers sit up front; etc...)"
That sounds like "Uber corporate" to me
This point seems out of place to me. To my understanding as a lay person, the law does not distinguish between a crime committed as civil disobedience and the same crime otherwise. Neither corporations nor private citizens can use a defense like, "it was civil disobedience," to avoid criminal liability. This has nothing to do with corporations being people or not. Could you please bring your lawyerly knowledge to bear and correct whatever deficiencies in understanding I have here?
1) People love to say corporations are people too (thanks SCOTUS), but the law doesn't actually always consider corporations as legal people. It depends on lots of things.
2) "The law" is also too vague. Sometimes intent is relevant, sometimes its not; it just depends on what the law itself says.
3) Civil disobedience is not (as far as I know-there's a lot of laws) a defense for law-breaking, but, it may mitigate punishment or liability for a human. This depends on many things, ranging from the law, to the jurisdiction, to the facts of the case.
4) The distinction I was trying to make was: unlike people, companies do not engage in civil disobedience and a court will not allow a company to claim otherwise, be it as defense or as liability mitigation.
Hope that answers your question?
In other words, civil disobedience may be legally relevant (tho not as a defense) when a human is the defendant, but it is not relevant for a corporation.
> it may be permitted to mitigate punishment for humans--but not for corporations
By whom or what, pursuant to what? Courts? Sentencing guidelines? Can you provide an example?
But no, civil disobedience is not about sentencing guidelines, and its not statutory (legislatures don't create laws for breaking the law) nor is it a defense, but nonetheless, it may be relevant. Again, it depends on many things, like the case itself, the jurisdiction, local rules, applicable laws, the judge...and why any of this matters is hard to understand without a background in civil & criminal procedure.
Someone else asked similar here & I went into further detail about why. A short answer is that humans have have states of mind, intentions and motives, and corporations do not (maybe you think they do; the legal system does not--judges and juries determine them as elements of crimes for humans, but not for corporations.) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14278589
Hope this helps; I wish I had a better way of explaining, but, I'm no sure what else to say other than that our laws distinguish between humans and corporations and so do our courts, because our democracy has determined that its best for public policy not to, for example, allow companies, whose legal purpose is to produce monetary profits for shareholders, to instruct their employees to break laws.
Hmmm. I'll try but maybe we are misunderstanding each other, because this doesn't seem debatable?
There are rules that define what kind of defenses, mitigating circumstances, evidence can be presented etc, are permitted for civil & criminal cases & what common law & evidence can be shared with the jury etc.. I'm unaware of any jurisdiction where corporations are considered equal to people or have a mens rea etc or were permitted to describe their corporate law-breaking as "civil disobedience" to a jury.
That's not how I'd say the law viewed corporations or punitive damages; guessing we use words differently & aren't understanding each other.
I am not sure what else to say; that different rules & laws apply to corporations & people seems to be a standard thing in my world. In my head its a given, so maybe my explanations are not as clear as I think. If I come across a link I'll share.
And with Uber, the board and owners could similarly claim that they were personally engaging in civil disobedience, right? In the way that they managed Uber. However, I suspect that limited personal liability for corporate actions is a better deal.
I don't think there is anything that would stop a defense from making that argument. If that's all you had to argue, then that's the proverbial "pound the table", if you will.
Edit: To be clear, I am not talking at all about Greyball. I mean cases where civil disobedience would actually be justified.
When companies want to change laws, they lobby the government, in part because telling one's employees to break the law is criminal conspiracy and very expensive, given how much power companies have & employees don't.
Sure, corporations sometimes do act in the public interest and sometimes act in the interest of justice. However, legally, courts & judges do not consider mitigating liability or punishment for their behavior on this basis. There are many reasons for this, but mostly because its just better public policy to limit any civil disobedience mitigation to actual humans.
Otherwise, eg, wouldn't coal mining companies be all about "civil disobedience"?
(1) Why should we not welcome civil disobedience then or call it anything other than "civil disobedience"?
(2) In a judicial context, what specifically do you believe would stop the same sentencing considerations from applying to corporations? Sentencing guidelines? Judicial precedent?
Criminal procedure is not my field, so there's a possibility I am making some basic mistaken assumption - please correct me if so.
The government does not require companies to comply with a scheme. Companies are free to contract with the government, but certainly aren't forced. PRISM & Muslim registries are also edge cases. There are many companies who choose not to do any work with the military, defense industry, or even gun, drug, or tobacco companies for ethical reasons. Most companies will allow their employees to opt not to work on projects that violate their ethics or values. However, a company would certainly be within their rights to fire an employee for refusing to participate in a project. (its not a smart move, nor does it help with retention of other employees) None of this is, by any means, civil disobedience--nor are ethics and civil disobedience interchangeable. (& it doesn't have to be illegal to be unethical--but civil disobedience is about law-breaking.)
As you may remember, the courts would not permit the government to force Apple to build decryption software to crack that iphone.
And we should not welcome all or encourage civil disobedience. We should just create just laws. Also, we should not redefine or expand the definition of civil disobedience.
Civil disobedience is not a "sentencing consideration." All of this is so inside baseball that it'd take explaining all of civil & criminal procedure in order for you to understand. It would take me a long time to make it both clear and accurate and the payoff would not be worth it. Sorry, but yes, you are making many mistaken assumptions:)
There are many public policy reasons why corporations do not & are not considered to engage in civil disobedience. Here's a few quick ones: we don't want companies to direct their employees to break the law or ignore health safety or environmental regulations, or to encourage the formation of criminal enterprises, most (99%?) are defined by a profit-making purpose & this undermines that (& create shareholder lawsuits.) and, despite Citizens United, the overwhelming majority of our laws do not treat corporations as people. For instance, corporations, legally speaking, are not considered to have mens rea or intentions.
TLDR: Citizens United aside, it is actually just not useful or accurate to consider corporations as people, because they aren't. As far as our legal system goes, humans have intentions & a state of mind and corporations don't.
(Feel argue they do, but, as far as the US legal system goes, they don't. And shouldn't. Because they actually don't. So, please, don't. Or, just don't expect my response).
You seem to view civil disobedience as a concept inherent to legal procedure as opposed to being by definition outside of law. That seems to me a very unorthodox definition of civil disobedience.
What I mean by civil disobedience is any legal agent (natural person or otherwise) refusing to comply with valid law for reasons of conscience. If you are subject to a law, you can engage in civil disobedience. A company that refuses for reasons of company principles to comply with a legally valid order to comply with a Muslim registry is engaging in civil disobedience. The ethics of corporate civil disobedience is complicated given obligations to shareholders and need to respect autonomy/views of dissenting employees. But groups of people are indeed capable of having shared principles, and that has nothing to do with Citizen United. Fine if you disagree.
Of course those are edge cases. Instances where civil disobedience is relevant usually are. Those are precisely the cases worth talking about.
Creating just laws and violating unjust ones still in effect are not mutually exclusive.
I am not sure what you mean. I do view civil disobedience through a legal lens, but its inherent in its definition-its action taken in opposition to law. Its not civil disobedience unless the law is being broken.
From Wikipedia: Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power.
I am not sure I understand your definition, but it is broader than mine.
I do not understand what you mean here: "A company that refuses for reasons of company principles to comply with a legally valid order to comply with a Muslim registry is engaging in civil disobedience."
What is a “legally valid order”? The US government doesn't & can't order companies to work for it. (Again, consider Apple & San Bernardino--the Court refused the DoJs request) It cannot arbitrarily demand data. (Obviously court orders for discovery, subpoenas,etc are not the same thing) And our Constitution & many very settled SC precedents, along with many other laws, make it illegal for the government to discriminate on the basis of religion.
Similarly, the US Government cannot compel Palantir or Facebook to make a Muslim Registry, but, leaving the Registry aside, either could fire an employee for refusing to work on a project for the Trump administration, (though it'd be a dumb thing to do). Any public attempt the Trump administration makes to create a Muslim registry will be challenged & enjoined in federal court.
If the Trump signs an executive order creating a Muslim Registry, it will be immediately challenged in court, and, a TRO or an injunction, will be granted for the same reasons.
Groups of people are absolutely capable of having shared principles & working together (its even common), but that is not how corporations are defined by laws made by legislatures or how courts interpret & apply those laws. Law is all about definitions, overlapping jurisdictions, and knowing which rules apply. I
However, the government cannot compel or order a company to build a Muslim Registry let alone anything else. Google & Facebook aren't ordered around at their whim. Plus our Constitution also forbids discrimination on the basis of religion. There are many more layers to this than I can explain.
My point about PRISM & the Muslim Registry was that they are on the edge because they are easy….since both are widely viewed as illegal and/or unconstitutional. As have US courts. Laws don't have to be changed; PRISM already violates them. Same with the Muslim Registry; if Trump orders it, a court will enjoin it before it is made. Neither the government nor Trump can order a company to build anything, let alone something that is facially unconstitutional. Neither is as much about civil disobedience as they are are about challenging laws in courts.
I don't think creating just laws and violating unjust ones are mutually exclusive at all. However, the purpose of a company (leaving B corps aside-rooting for you Etsy) is to make profits, regardless of who works there.
A company's BoD may believe that environmental regulations are deeply unjust because climate change is myth, but that doesn't mean that the company can order their coal miners to violate laws.
Last try: companies have fiduciary duties to their shareholders. Not breaking laws is implicit. When a company wants to change a law, it is cheaper & less risky to lobby for change than liability for breaking them. And a broader definition of civil disobedience undermines it, eventually into meaninglessness. Which is great for folks who don’t think words should have meaning, I guess?
Final comment on this: Though civil disobedience is defined by relation to law, ethics are not dependent on or related to law. Seems like our definitions vary more than we disagree.
What about Silk Road? I would say that's a legitimate case of a company (of sorts) engaging in civil disobedience. Ross Ulbricht was ideologically motivated.
I've heard some rumors about Travis' ideology. Maybe he's similar. (He named his company Uber, maybe he's some sort of Nietzschean?)
Regardless, whether its Ross, Travis or anyone else, why would or should ideological motivation be relevant to whether or not any given act is legal or how it should be punished?
When libertarians, for whatever reason, choose to start businesses in CA, they are explicitly consenting to our government & to obeying our democratically enacted laws. Ideology is not a shield for consequences--and, for both Travis & Ross, using Ayn Rand to justify their behavior only makes them less sympathetic to judges, prosecutors & juries.
Although the indictment mentions at one point that he had an employee, but he may have been paying him privately and not as part of a corporate structure.
Does that change anything vis-a-vis the argument you're making with regards to civil disobedience?
My reading of your comments is that a corporation doesn't have certain rights private individuals have. That makes sense, but does your argument still hold if Silk Road is a purely private website without any corporate structure?
No, it changes literally nothing. Criminal enterprises tend to be lean on corporate structure and paperwork for a variety of reasons.
There is also no such thing as a purely private website where everything is legal and there is no liability.
But it couldn't if Google had the same information and published it on its front page, since it's a corporation.
1. But what if guy X publishes it on his personal blog?
2. What if he occasionally sells used goods via his blog?
3. What if the main point of the blog is to sell those used goods, with a small "notes from the author" section where the information is published?
4. What if it's purely a commercial enterprise & isn't incorporated?
5. And then if it's incorporated it should be clear-cut, since as you said "only people [and not corporations] engage in civil disobedience".
My question is when civil disobedience stops being a defense. Your original comment points out that Uber can't use that because it falls into #5, but then you're saying it wouldn't apply to Silk Road either which as far as I can tell falls into #4.
How about #1-3?
This is the core of your misunderstanding - 'civil disobedience' is never a 'defense'. At best, a judge can take it into account come sentencing time. There is no such thing as a generic 'if you are ideologically motivated, you're off the hook' rule. Private or legal person, doesn't matter.
With that caveat my question still stands, `gotothedoctor` is , if I understand him correctly, saying that corporations like Uber can't expect that sort of leniency, but what about other not-quite-just-a-person entities?
AKA: no, Ross is not Silk Road. And, yes, the Silk Road is a business that took in millions if not billions.
Simply put: when there is material benefit or an economic exchange, it is a business, whether you are selling lemonade, drugs, guns or even personal services. There is no loophole.
> You would be incorrect. Humans, not companies, engage in civil disobedience.
Is this a point of observation ("I've never heard of a company doing this"), law ("Companies have no legal grounds to claim civil disobedience"), or logic ("companies cannot act, only its constituent humans act")?
If it's the first, I'm claiming to give you a contradictory observation. If it's the second, you yourself said that civil disobedience has no legal significance anyway (just a possible source of sympathy when it comes time for the judge's discretion) so in this sense I don't see why a human's civil disobedience is any more real than a company's. If it's the third, fair enough, but it wasn't clear to me that this was your point.
I did not say that civil disobedience has no legal significance for humans--I said it has no legal significance for corporations. Nor did I say it was a source of sympathy--I said it could mitigate liability or punishment.
While it is not a defense for law-breaking by humans, asserting civil disobedience can mitigate punishment or liability for humans; it cannot be used to do the same for corporations.
Jurisdictions, laws and rules make it difficult to generalize (eg some courts accept some mitigating factors but not others), but I've never come across or heard of any case where a corporation could or did claim "civil disobedience" as a mitigating factor for liability or punishment.
What is the basis of that "cannot"? Sentencing guidelines? Inference from cases where it was asserted but rejected because it came from a corporation?
Edit: Not asking for a citation. Just want to understand the basis for your view, because the point is an important one (current context aside) and your responses thus far about it feel circular (e.g., doesn't apply because it's irrelevant).
I didnt work for the Justice Department, but this appears to not be consistently logical. If ideology doesnt matter, why does valuing liberty negatively influence a judge's or prosecuter's actions towards you? That doesn't seem right.
Also, if ideological motivation should not play a role in prosecuting crimes, then why does our justice system sometimes do the opposite (consider hate crimes, or other cases where motivation is considered when prosecuting crimes, i.e. different versions of murder charges.)
I also did not say that "valuing liberty" has a negative influence. That is not how I was using the word "libertarian"
Nor did I say ideological motivation should not or does not play a role in prosecuting crimes. Whether it should or not is probably not important--because ideology does play a role prosecution, particularly in jurisdictions where they're elected.
As you know, motive (mens rea) is an element of some criminal charges, including murder. Motivation matters basically for public policy reasons--for example, we punish hate crimes more harshly because we, as a society, decided crimes motivated by hate are more damaging to society & harsher punishment is a deterant. Similarly, sometimes "crimes of passion" are punished less harshly, because society has decided that harsher punishment would not be a deterrant or effective.
What I said was: ideology is not a defense. And, in Travis's & Ross's cases, such ideology is more likely to increase, rather than mitigate, liability.
And, what I meant was: neither Uber nor the Silk Road would, could or should attempt to assert a defense based on not consenting to CA law, democracy, and/or denying the legitimacy of federal courts. Not only will it irritate the humans whose legitimacy is being questioned, but such a defense is not procedurally permissible in any court that I am aware of. Basically, it won't help either of them--its more likely to increase liability than anything else.
My sense is that we define words like libertarian quite differently, so I'm going to leave it here.
Just look at these superfluous! They acquire riches and yet they become poorer. They want power and first of all the crowbar of power, much money – these impotent, impoverished ones!
I can't tell you what exactly "Nietzschean" would be, but I think that in this and any neighboring contexts it's like talking about having lit fire underwater; some may have confused some sort of reflection with actual fire, but Nietzsche never set and never will set foot in any of these parts. Having been discerned and discarded by him is the only sort of business Nietzsche and any random shareholder value maximizing CEO will ever have. I don't pretend to know or understand Nietzsche at all, but the "worst" that could happen is that someone proves me wrong with Nietzsche quotes, so I'll just claim it and see what happens.
To steal an example from rayiner elsewhere in this thread, let's say you're a restaurant in the segregation-era south in a jurisdiction that requires restaurants to have separate seating areas for white and black people. Let's say you decide to break the law by having a single seating area for everyone. That would be civil disobedience because you're going out of your way to improve conditions for marginalized people at considerable risk, not just of prosecution but of being boycotted by racists. In other words, you breaking the law benefits society more than it benefits you.
This isn't what Uber is doing. Sure, let's say that Travis is ideologically motivated because he feels he has a fundamental natural right to make money using any and every means he sees fit. So that means Uber is breaking the law because they feel the law gets in the way of their natural right to line their pockets with as much cash as they can however they can. It's a purely selfish motivation.
And moving on to Ross, it's the same thing. He was raking in bitcoins hand over fist from what he was doing. He can say "selling anything should be legal" all he wants, but if the end result of him breaking the law is that he gets rich, then he's ultimately doing himself a favor more than he's doing society a favor. And he really shot himself in the foot with those attempted hits. That took all the wind out of the sails of his "I'm not hurting anyone; I'm just helping connect people to each other". He tried to kill people. Worse, he tried to kill people because they stole money from him. There was no ideological motivation for the attempted hits. It was just "this guy stole from me, he has to pay". There goes his entire defense.
And ultimately, "civil disobedience" isn't a defense against conviction. It's an argument for leniency in the sentencing phase. It doesn't exist on paper, either: the only reason the concept exists at all is because judges and juries have broad discretion in sentencing. It's just like how first-time offenders tend to get off easy: there's no law saying "if the convicted has no priors, you have to give them a lesser sentence", it's just based on the logic that someone with no priors is probably someone who made a stupid mistake and not a career criminal. Going back to civil disobedience, the upshot is that if you can convince the judge and/or jury that you breaking the law had a net benefit to society, you might get away with the minimum punishment mandated by law. But if the main consequence of you breaking the law is that you got rich, why would any judge or jury care enough to let you off easily?
Edit: Just to make this clear, IANAL & TINLA.
Basically, in 2003, a very different SCOTUS said sorry Planned Parenthood, but, actually Operation Rescue, as awful & harassing as they are, are not committing EXTORTION, so no RICO for you & overturned their damages award.
Here's the part of the article I'd guess you are referring to:
"The decision, Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, No. 01-1118, did not appear to reflect any particular attitude on the court toward abortion, but rather a concern over the implications of invoking the federal racketeering law as a weapon against political protests. In a concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court was ''rightly reluctant, as I see it, to extend RICO's domain further.'' She noted that in the argument in the case, Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, who supported the clinics in their interpretation of extortion, acknowledged that the definition might have applied to the sit-ins of the civil rights movement."
Ginsburg's concern was, if SCOTUS accepted that definition of extortion, others could use RICO to prosecute citizens for civil disobedience. Conseqently, she ruled against Planned Parenthood.
Regardless, SCOTUS did not, as you claim, "express concern about expanding motive in RICO cases".
On a very different court, RBG wrote a concurrence, explaining that she voted against Planned Parenthood because she was concerned with the precedent of charging Operation Rescue with extortion, under RICO. Motive is not the issue (nor was it relevant in that case)--RICO...& charging the defendants with extortion, as a basis for RICO prosecution is.
> Governments have generally not recognized the legitimacy of civil disobedience or viewed political objectives as an excuse for breaking the law. Specifically, the law usually distinguishes between criminal motive and criminal intent; the offender's motives or purposes may be admirable and praiseworthy, but his intent may still be criminal. Hence the saying that "if there is any possible justification of civil disobedience it must come from outside the legal system."
See also the Necessity Defense (the above mentioned "political necessity")  and Jury Nullification .
See, the whole point of civil disobedience is this: under the Constitution and the precepts of common law, bad laws don't have to be followed. So civil disobedience is making a show of deliberately breaking a bad law in order to call attention to the fact that the law is bad, risking your own liberty in the process. Then when it goes to trial, a jury may decide that though you broke the law, you are in the right and acquit you. This power of "jury nullification" is also recognized in common law and while it may not actually nullify laws, it makes them more difficult to enforce and when they're not enforced they are effectively void. A lot of the fun-fact ridiculous laws like "it is illegal to kiss in public on Sundays" are old laws which the local authorities can't be bothered to enforce and so are not really in force.
But back to civil disobedience: it is an assertion through deed of human rights. Corporations lack human rights, and furthermore if you are making money off your violation of the law you are less likely to be smiled upon by a jury.
United States Attorneys (also known as chief federal prosecutors and, historically, as United States District Attorneys) represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals.
"Catholic sex abuse cases
In some jurisdictions, RICO suits have been filed against Catholic dioceses, using anti-racketeering laws to prosecute the highers-up in the episcopacy for abuses committed by those under their authority. E.g. a Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims did not amount to criminal racketeering. Notably, a similar suit was not filed against Cardinal Bernard Law, then Archbishop/Emeritus of Boston, prior to his assignment to Vatican City. In 2016, RICO charges were considered for cover-ups in Pennsylvania."
So RICO can be used for both criminal and civil charges?
Companies (tech & other) are sued literally all the time under RICO (which is now over 40 years old), though mostly as civil rather than criminal offenses. Success rates vary. Often there are better ways than RICO. And, also, most cases never make it to court.
Basically, prosecutors choose the charges they seek to prosecute based on their judgement of the likelihood of conviction; RICO can effectively multiply the number of charges...which some judges are less keen on. There are many factors at play with RICO, but they won't clarify anything, so I'll leave it there.
It is certainly not clear that the DoJ will even prosecute Uber under RICO. Its a possibility, but perhaps not the most likely approach, for a variety of reasons. That said, its far from impossible. And, some USAs use RICO more than others (eg Preet Bharara).
Long story short: criminal investigations & charges are the issue, more than whether they are charged under RICO. Being criminal investigated is rare in most businesses (less so on Wall St? Idk, speculating) and being prosecuted, even rarer.
Hope this helps.
I can reconcile this with my own values.
Practically, an enterprise of criminals is more likely to be effective, and thus would create more negative costs.
Legally, it allows prosecution of the organizers of a crime group, who are likely the most dangerous and more difficult to catch in the act, as they contract others to do their work.
They claim it is to circumvent fraud (folks ordering pizza and not paying) and bad payments and the like as a cover. And it isn't just a local pizza place: This is a nationwide chain doing such actions.
Edit: Addtionally, employees would be trained to avoid such situations.
Until people that OK'd, knew and /or executed a certain action go to jail, nothing will change. Lawyer fees and fines now are a tiny cost of doing business for big corps.
A century this year.
Except Google pays way too much in lobbying for that.
There are many overlapping laws, in cities, states & counties. Uber is subject to all the relevant laws in any area it operates--but, eg, Portland's laws only matter in Portland, Austin's in Austin, etc. So, for example, Uber chose to leave Austin because Austin passed laws that Uber already obeys in NY, but did not wish to in Texas.
Not everyone in this forum lives in the USA and people should remember that :)
he/she is talking about bankers.
2008 was really the popping of an investment bubble due to business incompetence and exuberance among many actors. I don't really see that as a criminal act. If that were the case, then all VC employees should be arrested for causing the 2001 bubble. The only argument that really has any merit is the one that rating agencies misled investors, so I can see some action being done there.
Whereas here with Uber, there are clear laws being broken - very different in my opinion.
It kind of goes to my point that it seem to be more of incentive and business failure than a criminal one. Being aggressive with your company and then failing isn't a crime.
//corrected a typo
Consider a case where the legal system was attempting to enforce property rights involving slavery and an individual obstructed the system. Many would consider this justified obstruction of justice because they are morally opposed to what the legal system is trying to do. (I'm not trying to say what Uber is doing is anything like the example I gave, I was only trying to give an extreme example where many readers would at least see how people would feel it justified the obstruction of justice.)
Legally, it doesn't at all.
Brilliant. I was able to summon a car within minutes, and this app also allows for paying via the app.
Uber's biggest threat is, IMO, the creation of a well-working "push to ride & pay" taxi app by other countries that are as similarly well organised as Germany.
For me as a consumer, I could care less if I download Uber or EUTaxi. As long as I get my ride on time, and with a professionally licensed driver.
* VC dollars still subsidize Uber, but even as an operational whole to < 20% of the true cost of rides. On the other hand, the equivalent taxi would cost at least $12-15.
Sounds nice, but I never had a single Uber driver that was doing it as a "casual" thing, or just to cover his fuel expenses and make some money on the side. It's a fulltime job for the vast majority of Uber drivers.
NYC, Bay Area: full-timers. Mid-west, PNW: "casual" part-timers
>It's a fulltime job for the vast majority of Uber drivers.
This statement is unsupported and contrary to every driver I know. It also runs contrary to Uber's own advertising.
You misspelled taxi markets.
> with a guy returning home from work looking to make a few extra bucks,
I don't know the local regulations, however isn't it still allowed to drive them at cost? Allowing the guy returning from work to cover the fuel cost by driving others? Sure its not the latest illegal getting rich quick scheme.
My father took a traditional taxi back home from the airport (SeaTac). The driver was on his cell phone the entire time and driving erratically. When my father went to the taxi board to report his behavior they told him "You have an appointment to stand before the board and make your case. It is Wednesday at 3:00PM". I don't know if the time exact, but the point it is during the day when most people are working. My father couldn't get that time off. The body responsible for overseeing drivers wasn't willing to take his complaint if he couldn't come and give it in person during the working day. It was an absurd policy that protected dangerous drivers. It is outrageous to me that the existing framework was clearly designed to protect bad drivers like that.
With apps these days, you can give feedback right away inside the app. No need to go downtown to meet with bureaucrats. I think there is obviously a balance to strike here, but I don't think the current system has found it.
Long way around or poor route selection, made up surcharges, putting a higher amount into a payment app than was on the meter, horrible riding experience due to BO, refusing to take me somewhere because it's too close, poor driving, or poor car condition. There is no feedback loop for these drivers.
Contrast with Uber, when I have a bad ride, I complain and usually get my money back, or at least part of it. I also feel pretty confident those drivers won't be allowed on the network after a few of those.
I realize there's another side to this, which is the drivers are overly penalized by poor reviews and some riders abuse that, but this seems a natural overreaction to the current situation of zero accountability. Uber, Lyft, or something else, whoever is providing the most pleasant riding experience at the cheapest price with convenience should win. From my experience, Taxi's are at the bottom of any list today.
Interestingly, the Uber was also consistently way cheaper (think "half or less") than unlicensed local bike taxis, so I suspect that it does provide a value to the drivers too (maybe not having to stand around on a corner hoping for a customer for hours).
Meanwhile, in Germany alone, you'd need to have multiple apps depending on which city you're in with little consistency between them.
As far as I understand it, taxi.eu is an infrastructure service for dispatchers, while MyTaxi is a bit more Uber-like in that it provides a virtual dispatcher for non-affiliated (but still licensed) Taxi drivers.
In Germany: while taxis are required to have licenses, we don't have such things as taxi drivers renting their medallions for a day.
> and abide by other silly regulations
Regulations usually exist for good reasons. Let's just take the common complaints about the German ones:
- cab drivers have rigorous tests on their knowledge of the city's streets: you don't want to have drivers which are stuck on the side of the road if their GPS fails and also you don't want them spend a minute idling and typing the destination in the GPS. Furthermore, it makes for a more professional experience.
- cab drivers have to know lots of tourist info (this applies at least for Munich, Berlin and Hamburg): you don't want to have cab drivers unable to at least explain a bit about the city. Cab drivers are, airport staff aside, the first point of contact for tourists.
- cab drivers have to keep their car clean and maintained: once again: Cab drivers are, airport staff aside, the first point of contact for tourists. Which means that an unclean, falling-to-pieces cab will leave a negative impression on the city as a whole. Also, not properly maintained cabs are a safety risk.
- cab drivers from city A may drive passengers to city B, but not pick up passengers in city B. Once again, this is not just to protect taxi drivers in city B (because the meter in taxi A may have lower tariffs), but also to ensure a competent driver for passengers in city B.
Uber didn't grab much of a hold in Germany because the cabs here are not the total desaster that is found in other countries. Especially, we have the Beförderungspflicht, which means that a cab driver must transport you inside the licensed area, no matter how short or long the route, and especially discrimination on race or the 'hood where the passenger is hailing the cab is forbidden. The only reason for a cab driver to deny you transportation is if you're too drunk/drugged or armed/aggressive (both of which are a danger to the cab driver) or the destination is outside the licensed area (the cab driver still may set his/her own price for such routes, but very well deny you transportation if it's too far away).
And yet this happens to me in probably one in four rides in Berlin (which adds up to a lot of rides), and not really anywhere exotic: Tegel to Kollwitzplatz for instance.
(I agree with all your points and I use MyTaxi which I find good enough, but I think the street map knowledge of Berlin taxi drivers has radically decreased in the last ten years. No idea why.)
Obligatory BER joke: Taxi drivers think they're at BER and are a bit confused why it says TXL? ;)
The most egregious is this one:
cab drivers from city A may drive passengers to city B, but not pick up passengers in city B. Once again, this is not just to protect taxi drivers in city B (because the meter in taxi A may have lower tariffs), but also to ensure a competent driver for passengers in city B.
This is almost always a rule to protect cab drivers in city B. And it's horribly inefficient as it means the cab spends 50% of its time empty. If driving between cities is common, fares have to be much, much higher to compensate drivers for this.
Knowledge of local roads is close to ok, it ties into being a good driver. The other items on your list are nice-to-haves, but at what cost? If tourists really want all this stuff, they can take the cab at the stand outside their hotel or at the airport instead of calling an Uber. But, speaking for myself, I'd prefer to save 10-20 euro on a trip from the airport.
Disclaimer: the closest I have come to Germany is flying through the airports. So feel free to critique my lack of local knowledge.
Most of the time, that rule doesn't hit at all - the major exceptions are the Berlin and Munich airports, which are located outside of the city borders. The remainder that gets hit by this policy are fares crossing regional boundaries on the countryside where it doesn't really matter anyway if a cab goes 5km empty.
All the major cities are in one regulation zone exactly to avoid this - which has the downside that in the mega-urbs Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin the amount of knowledge required for taxi drivers is immense, and it doesn't really help that there are often enough more than 2 streets of the same name in Berlin (mostly, an aftereffect of the DDR/BRD split and reunification).
It's just a very small group of people telling everyone else what's good for them. I have a better idea - create regulations that "protect the innocent" but at the same time allow people to opt-out from such "protection" and use whatever transportation service they fucking please (but at their own risk).
1. In this case, there's no opting out of personal protection without endangering innocents - as long as you're using public transportation infrastructure (i.e. roads), an unmaintained and/or uninsured car is a danger to others. There is public interest in ensuring such cars do not drive alongside regular traffic.
2. Such "protection" through enforcement of some minimal standards is a cost; if you remove that floor, the market will push straight down. What you intend as a voluntary opt-out mode will become involuntary, as prices adjusts to reflect the added costs of those standards. In other words, it's not just those who're willingly opting out that will be using "unprotected" services, but also those who can't afford the "protection" but need the service.
Point 2 can be also restated as: safety standards are a cost, the market will happily get rid of it (by externalizing them onto society at large) if you allow it to.
In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to drive a car without a specific level of insurance or with safety-related maintenance issues independent of whether it is being used for some commercial purpose.
For example, look at arbitration in the US.
Want a retirement account? Arbitration clause.
Bank account? Arbitration clause.
Cell phone contract? Arbitration clause.
Insurance? Arbitration clause.
Online video game account? Arbitration clause.
And most people don't realize how one sided these are until they end up on the wrong end of the legal system.
Because people are too lazy to walk away from a bad deal or simply don't want to read the contract they're about to sign is a really poor justification.
Services that are technically "rent a car with a driver" can operate like taxis, but not do on-street pickup.
Only regulations: Needs driver license, needs insurance.
By your logic we shouldn't regulate smoking or guns or a million other things we regulate, for good reason.
It's not just about stupid people. It's also about people who get deceived by marketing (i.e. all of us, in some way, at some point). It's also about the market adjusting prices so that the unsafe option will be the only option available for some people, while true costs are externalized onto society.
But the point still is, as you say, we regulate a lot of things for good reason.
Yes, but it'll work the other way around - the "safe option" will become cheaper, otherwise services that provide it will go out of business. What makes you think that "unsafe option will be the only option available for some people". Feels a bit like you're demonising the free market.
stupid people will hurt them self, one way or another. You can't protect people from their own stupidity by introducing more and more regulations. Soon, you won't be able to purchase a kitchen knife.
Now we have:
- speed limits
- car making regulations
- fuel regulations
And 99% of those rules are good for society as a whole.
Regulation isn't bad in and of itself, abuse of regulation is. Focus on the real target ;)
> For example, it mined credit card information to see if the owner was affiliated with a credit union used by police and checked social media profiles to assess the likelihood that the person was in law enforcement.
Yikes. I know people who have the mentality that this sort of thing is ok. Whether you're a startup that never makes it, or one worth billions, at some point this kind of stuff surfaces. You can't run a successful company and get away with this stuff, especially as a start up when everyone is out to get you even moreso.
I'm still waiting for the big one that makes me quit using Uber though.
Sometimes I'll chat with the drivers about what they prefer and most seem to like getting Lyft work more, but Uber has more demand.
Also Lyft do not take a percentage out of your tip compare to Uber.
-- once upon a time lyft driver
The app stopped working for me. That got me to install Lyft. Then I wondered why I hadn't earlier.
Around the time Uber started tracking users _after_ a ride, their "search for destination" feature stopped working for me. After I tapped my destination from the list of results, the app would hang indefinitely with a terrible bouncing progress bar along the top. I couldn't even summon an Uber to speak with the driver.
A better approach might be an anecdote: My friend actually made the switch to Lyft, and apparently it's just as quick and effective as Uber. She hasn't had any complaints as far as I know.
Unfortunately, I had a Lyft experience that really turned me off. They matched me with a driver who was 5-10 minutes away (I believe he was at Millbrae BART). He messaged to ask where I was going, and then once I responded he moved his car slightly farther away from me, and then parked it. We waited ~10 mins. He was unable or unwilling to cancel the ride that he wouldn't give us, wouldn't respond back to me, and Lyft customer support didn't seem to care.
It was infuriating. Either do a better job matching, lower the penalties for drivers canceling, or enforce the same/worse penalties for refusing to pick up. If the driver's best course of action is to ignore your customer, you have a problem. Maybe that's changed since then, but it's not necessarily a good thing for consumers that drivers say they prefer Lyft.
I use both, infrequently, and rationalize it because my rides are being subsidized by investors. I think short of dramatic leadership changes, Uber can't fix their corruption. I'm hoping they run out of investors willing to give them cash, or they're disrupted by something even better. As long as they have the best product, I think they'll continue to grow.
At least microsoft had the civility to only screw over other software shops (and occassionally tinker with government lobbying and standardization bodies). Uber has sexism, anti-police conspiracies, oppression of its own workforce, blatantly illegal operating procedures, etc...
I have no reason to believe this, but I am waiting for the story were the uber CEO makes of with all the investors money.
I don't see a big problem with it. If it's OK to do the original illegal thing, then why wouldn't it be OK to try to avoid contact with law enforcement while doing it? If it's not OK to do the original thing then that rather than trying to avoid being punished for it is the fundamental issue.
I find it a little odd people are upset over this if they weren't similarly upset over Uber skirting regulations to begin with. Uber has been guilty of some other bad behavior toward employees, drivers and competitors that I find unacceptable, but Greyball seems fundamentally reasonable.
Because law enforcement might need to do an investigation to determine if you're doing an illegal thing or not. Impeding such an investigation is ipso facto illegal, regardless of whether the thing they're investigating is itself against the law. That's why we have a crime called "obstruction of justice", to disincentivize people from covering up their illegal activities by any means necessary.
You're right, but as other people in this thread have mentioned, Uber wasn't simply refusing service to the suspected investigators (which probably would've been fine): they were actively wasting their time, making them think a ride was on the way when it wasn't. That tips it into obstruction of justice.
(Yes, I asked about this in the last thread, but my question and the replies were about credit card/PCI agreements, not privacy laws.)
As you've mentioned, basically you can only use user's data for purposes stated in EULA (and they can't be overly abstract i.e. "we do anything we like with your data"). Though, sadly it's rare to see enforcement of data privacy laws except few show-off trials.
P.S. currently data protection laws vary a little country by country, but even more strict, EU-wide data protection laws will enter into force next year that also applies (on paper) to non-EU companies that serves EU citizens. See more at http://www.eugdpr.org/
Also didn't help they ran a big article about leaving Postgres because they couldn't assume their engineers understand DB transactions. Their example, IIRC, was a dev sending an email inside of a DB transaction and not knowing this would consume resources and cause contention. Normalising that kind of incompetency isn't positive.
But hey, in Guatemala I've got no alternative and Uber works great and is far safer than a taxi, so hey...
> But hey, in Guatemala I've got no alternative and Uber works great and is far safer than a taxi, so hey...
Uber in Guatemala actually visits the drivers' houses, in addition to requiring police backgrounds on them and so on. It's far safer. The prices are far lower, too. Drivers make more than they'd make working in a call center, where unskilled English speakers can make $600-$700.
It's also providing some investment opportunities. Use Uber's fleet management system to buy a bunch of cars and rent them out to drivers that don't own their own car.
On the whole, Uber, in Guatemala, seems entirely positive.
But if you're a startup that fails early, it doesn't. The thinking is that you do whatever it takes to make it, and that if your nefarious deeds ever come to light it just proves that you've made it big enough to cop some scrutiny.
I don't agree with it, but many do.
Ugh. What happened to ethics? Does no one at Berkeley teach that course anymore?
I do find it amusing the Government of the US does this to basically every person and company, all the time, but if one company tries to do it back.. well, then, that's really bad and shame on them!