Uber is facing $59M fine from California regulators and could be shut down if it does provide information on 6,000 sexual assault and harassment claims filed by drivers and riders

 Uber has been threatened with a $59 million fine if it does not provide detailed information on sexual assault cases and harassment claims among its drivers and riders within 30 days, in the latest round of a year-long battle.

California's Public Utilities Commission, which regulates ride sharing, announced on Monday that the Silicon Valley company could be forced to stop operations if it does not meet their deadline.

Uber has argued that they want to protect victims' identities, and fear what would happen if they hand over details.

That concern was dismissed on Monday by Robert Mason, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission, who said Uber's concerns about violating privacy were 'premature' since the information would be filed under seal. 

Mason found that Uber had 'multiple continuous offenses' that violated several previous rulings on the issue from the agency.

Uber on Monday was told by the regulators in California that they must hand over their report

Uber on Monday was told by the regulators in California that they must hand over their report

California's Public Utilities Commission wants details from a Dec 2019 sexual assault report

California's Public Utilities Commission wants details from a Dec 2019 sexual assault report

The scale of the problem was revealed a year ago, when Uber published an 84-page report that said it had received about 6,000 reports of sexual assault and harassment in the United States in 2017 and 2018, including 464 rapes.

About a fifth of those, or 1,243, were in California.


Regulators want to investigate those cases, so they asked Uber to describe each claim from 2017 to 2019, including names and contact information for witnesses, victims and Uber employees who received the reports.

Uber's refusal to hand over the names and contact details has been supported by some sexual assault advocacy organizations.

Uber would not say how they intend to respond to Monday's order, and said that they are considering their next steps, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The tech giant said in a statement that they remained opposed to the 'shocking violation of privacy' the authorities were demanding.

Regulators have threatened Uber with a $59 million fine and being shut down

Regulators have threatened Uber with a $59 million fine and being shut down

Dara Khosrowshahi in December 2019 said the incidents of sexual assault and harassment were low among the one billion rides taken - but the number was still too high

Dara Khosrowshahi in December 2019 said the incidents of sexual assault and harassment were low among the one billion rides taken - but the number was still too high

Uber said the regulator 'has been insistent in its demands that we release the full names and contact information of sexual assault survivors without their consent.'

Monday's order said Uber should work with the agency staff 'to develop a code or numbering system as a substitute for the actual names and other personally identifiable information requested.'

'Now, a year later, the CPUC has changed its tune: we can provide anonymized information - yet we are also subject to a $59 million fine for not complying with the very order the CPUC has fundamentally altered.'

They said that the Commission's actions would discourage other companies from publishing their own reports into harassment claims, like Uber did in December 2019.

'These punitive and confusing actions will do nothing to improve public safety and will only create a chilling effect as other companies consider releasing their own reports,' Uber said.

'Transparency should be encouraged, not punished.'

In Uber's report last year, they found that about 92 per cent of the victims were riders and roughly 7 per cent were drivers.

Women and female-identifying individuals comprised 89 per cent of the victims, while men and male-identifying individuals made up about 8 per cent.

In 2017, Uber recorded 2,936 reports of sexual assault during a total of one billion trips throughout the United States. There were 3,045 reported sexual assaults the following year during 1.3 billion total trips.

'I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they're still too common,' Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said of the new report via Twitter.

'Some people will appreciate how much we've done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.'

During 2017 and 2018, 19 people died in physical assaults that occurred in Uber-related incidents. There were also 107 motor vehicle fatalities from Uber-related crashes in the same time frame.

Uber is facing $59M fine from California regulators and could be shut down if it does provide information on 6,000 sexual assault and harassment claims filed by drivers and riders Uber is facing $59M fine from California regulators and could be shut down if it does provide information on 6,000 sexual assault and harassment claims filed by drivers and riders Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:49 Rating: 5

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