Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Uber will pay $9 million in sexual assault case

Uber will pay $9m (£6.8m) to resolve a sexual assault and harassment case in California. When asked by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about assaults and harassment, Uber refused. For victims, Uber claimed it would be a “shocking invasion of privacy.” The $59m fine was cut to assist support passenger safety initiatives, the CPUC stated.

The settlement resolves a nearly two-year debate over whether Uber should send over records concerning alleged events involving its drivers. Uber argued that publishing such records publicly could be upsetting for the victims and discourage future reports, especially since the CPUC was seeking the names of all “witnesses,” which would include the attackers.

Rainn expressed similar reservations about California officials’ ability to protect sensitive data. For this reason, each case’s details will kept confidential, according to the CPUC. An attempt to hinder commission scrutiny has cited as the reason for the statement.

Unable to comply for a year, the CPUC fined Uber $59m (£44.5m). But after Uber appealed, it consented to this week’s $9m settlement, resulting in:

  • $5 million will go to “victims of violence and sexual violence,” ideally passengers.
  • Four million dollars will go to the “passenger carrier business.”
  • $150,000 extra for the California state general fund

Uber will now give information to California government using “unique identifiers” instead of names to protect individuals’ identity. It would also create a “opt-in” process for “survivors” who wish to tell state officials more about what happened.

We can move forward with an alternative that protects the privacy and agency of survivors,” Uber said in a statement.

It’s not the only one

This was due to months of negotiations where “all parties gain advantages and provide concessions,” the CPUC claimed. The ride-hailing app has forced to publish its US-based safety report in December 2019 and promised to do so every two years.

The 2021 edition is yet to come. Uber had approximately 6,000 reports of sexual assault in 2017 and 2018 – a small percentage of the over two billion rides it gave during that time period, according to the firm.

In its first safety report issued earlier this year, Lyft reported over 4,000 sexual assaults between 2017 and 2019.

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