Despite never actually being arrested in South Korea, the CEO and founder of the taxi app service could face up to two years in jail in the country.
Essentially, Uber is considered highly illegal in South Korea, thanks to the incredible amount of regulation in the way of becoming a licensed taxi operator. Taxi drivers themselves need to pay an accumulative 70 million won (around $63,477) just to become a registered driver.
South Korean prosecutors have indicted Travis Kalanick without him actually being arrested or appearing in court, with him facing the jail time or a 20 million won (around $18,121) fine. If he has the option of taking the fine, I think we all know which one he’ll go for.
Bizarrely, Uber continues to operate in Seoul, the South Korean capital. It’s even more bizarre when you consider that the authorities in Seoul have essentially placed a bounty on the heads of Uber drivers, offering 1 million won (about $910) to any citizen who has evidence of the service operating. They even have a “dedicated squad” that is “clamping down on Uber drivers”.
Uber has faced a tricky legal path since its inception, with intense opposition from governments and taxi drivers alike. So far, it’s seemed pretty invincible – they give off the impression that they’re above the law. It’ll be interesting to see how this latest story pans out though.
The Delhi transport department has banned the popular ride sharing service following allegations of rape by an Uber driver. The male driver allegedly raped a 25-year-old female passenger on Friday.
Shiv Kumar Yadav was previously arrested for rape in 2011, but charges were dropped following a settlement between him and the alleged victim.
The news comes as a significant blow for Uber in India, a country where the ride sharing app has been growing quickly. India’s economic status combined with the easy business opportunities and subsequent cheap fairs that Uber can deliver, makes the service ideal for the country. The loss of the service in Delhi will bo doubt hamper that growth.
A statement from Uber’s CEO, delivered before the ban, made suggestions that Uber’s plans for background checks were to be more comprehensive than those already delivered by the Indian government in their own “commercial transportation licensing programs”.
“We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.” – Travis Kalanick
Uber has had a pretty rough time recently, with allegations of spying, supposed plans to “dig up dirt” on journalists and opposition from governments and the transportation industry.
This week has been a bad week for Uber, the car sharing service.
First, Uber executive Emil Michael, caused a stir when he suggested paying “professional journalists” $1 million to dig up dirt on other journalists who were saying bad things about the company. Nicole Campbell wrote for the Huffington Post about how she was at a dinner with Emil when she heard his suggestion.
“Emil flippantly said he could hire professional journalists for $1 million to get the expertise to make sure that they could respond when negative articles come out.”
If things couldn’t get any worse, a new story revealed that Uber executives have access to a secret ‘God View’ that allows them to track individual cars and even users of the app. A BuzzFeed reporter said that during a visit to Uber’s offices, she was told that she’d been tracked before her arrival.
“Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber’s New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle — an Uber car — she found Mohrer waiting for her. “There you are,” he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. “I was tracking you.”
The news has led to some suggesting a boycott of the service, while others are questioning the overly hubris or big-headed nature of Uber and its executives.
Alleged patent infringements look like consist of a daily business around the world nowadays. This is the case with a company named ART+COM, or ACI for short, which has recently fled an infringement suit against Google.
The suit reported consists of Google infringing a patent which ACI holds (#RE44,550), having the following title: “Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data”. In the suite, ACI describes how Google Earth looks strikingly similar to their software named Terravision, developed over a decade ago before Google Earth moved into the market.
“Terravision was developed using Onyx computers of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) which were the most powerful available at the time for processing and displaying graphical data,” ACI’s Detlef Andreovits stated. “In the course of developing Terravision, our inventors worked directly with Michael T. Jones when he was at SGI, where he was our designated contact person. We understand SGI subsequently used Terravision as a demonstration of the capabilities of their Onyx computers.” he added.
Judging by the images, it does have similar elements present in their interface and graphical interpretation of planet Earth (even though it’s the same planet?), however ACI also says that it has issue with some Google executives, in particular with Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering for Google Maps.
ACI state that the latter mentioned Google executives worked for companies which had access to data on the Terravision system in the past. The company added that Google’s infringement is deliberate and could be greatly impacted in court.