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Uber Commits $5 Million To Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Prevention (gizmodo.com) 78

Uber announced on Sunday that it's taking new steps toward preventing sexual assault and domestic violence, starting with a $5 million donation to its partners -- Raliance, National Network to End Domestic Violence, No More, Women of Color Network, Casa de Esperanza, A Call to Men, and The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs -- along with an employee training program and in-app messaging to educate riders and drivers. Gizmodo reports: "As a result of this ongoing collaboration we have begun to make important changes internally and will commit to use Uber's scope and visibility to help drive awareness, education, and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence to millions globally," said Uber's announcement. Uber wrote on its blog that its technology "enhances safety for riders and drivers in ways that weren't possible before such as GPS tracking, the ability to share a trip with family and friends, and 24/7 support through the app." But the company has failed to adopt measures like more rigorous driver background checks, despite urging by lawmakers. The ride-sharing service left Austin altogether last year (along with Lyft) because it refused to fingerprint its drivers. Uber has argued that mandated fingerprinting is too burdensome. Advocates for fingerprinting argue that it helps ensure rider safety.
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Uber Commits $5 Million To Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Prevention

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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @05:02AM (#55504727) Homepage Journal

    I keep hearing that Uber is throwing away money to make their name. Is this another example of that, and if so, where did they get the cash? Or are they actually making money now? Last I heard they were maybe profitable in the US, but still just flushing money down the toilet in China.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Fed prints electronic money, funnels it into some investment companies, which then burn the money on investment/welfare for Uber. It's just turning the US dollar into the Zimbabwean dollar.

      The US possibly to default on its debt is not going to help: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-13/u-s-default-unlikely-but-bond-traders-are-taking-no-chances. The US is already a Third World country w.r.t. its infrastructure, so perhaps it will also become one financially. E.g., with the end of the petro

      • The Fed prints electronic money, funnels it into some investment companies, which then burn the money on investment/welfare for Uber. It's just turning the US dollar into the Zimbabwean dollar.

        The US possibly to default on its debt is not going to help: https://www.bloomberg.com/news... [bloomberg.com]. The US is already a Third World country w.r.t. its infrastructure, so perhaps it will also become one financially. E.g., with the end of the petrodollar in sight, what will the US really have to offer to the world, besides a flashy phone (on which it can barely can make any tax dollars)?

        Because the Fed can print money, the US will never be forced to default on its debt. It will always be able to print money to pay its debts. That can cause other problems, no doubt. But default or bankruptcy are not among them.

        • Sure, it can keep printing greenbacks, but all it takes is a single time for Congress (or the Senate, I forget exactly how it works) to wait until all extraordinary means have been exhausted to keep paying the bills (except it's ordinary now, as we do it all the time) and then decide not to bump up the debt ceiling. And we are electing more and more wack jobs willing to do it, just "because we can".

          Even Trump has said that he thinks it would be no big deal for the US to go bankrupt, because he's such a goo

      • The US is already a Third World country w.r.t. its infrastructure

        Our infrastructure isn't well maintained, but I take it you've never been to a third world country.

        • Our infrastructure isn't well maintained, but I take it you've never been to a third world country.

          Infrastructure is incredibly uneven. Much of the Interamericano is in great condition... but you can't drive through the Darien Gap! I don't see a lot of missing manhole covers in the USA, but they're [not] out there... but watch where you step in Panama or CR. They've got a lot of dirt roads, but actually, so do we. Go check out some aerial or street views of Clear Lake, CA.

      • I've lived in the US. I've lived in Europe. And I've lived in sub-Saharan African countries.

        The US is not even close to a third world country with respect to its infrastructure.

    • $5m? So what's that? About $1 per case of Uber drivers going afoul?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The continued assaults against their staff and customers are hurting their bottom line. Some regulators are cracking down on them because of it, at least in part, e.g. London.

      So $5m seems like peanuts if it fixes that problem for them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They're not fixing anything, they're throwing money at one or more organizations for the sake of virtue signalling. The problem is governments let uber and their like get away with the "we're not a taxi company guv' really we're not!" bullshit far too long instead of requiring the same things that taxi companies have been required to do for decades because of the same issues. Background checks, vehicle maintenance checks every 6mo, basic first aid requirements, etc.

        But just think if all these issues were

      • If $5 million dollars could fix the problem, Hollywood could have cleaned up their act decades ago. This just reeks of throwing money at some organization that claims to specialize in training, etc. as a PR move.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          By "fixes the the problem" I mean the PR issue, not the actual abuse.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            Nope. It's a shakedown just like Al Sharpton. If they wanted to start working on the PR problem, they're start by phasing in all drivers to have a background check like social workers/primary care workers are required to have. It's far more indepth and goes beyond a surface background check. But, they(along with other ride-share companies) keep pushing that they're not cab companies. Cab companies require actual background checks in most countries besides having a chauffeurs license. They could actual

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Don't forget that the drivers are just a temporary stand-in for self-driving cars. They aren't planning on keeping them around for any longer than they have to. Their only concerns are keeping costs down and covering over the problems with PR until they can get to the self-driving stage and fire most of their workforce.

              • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                Those self-driving cars are still likely a decade or more away as it is. It's not like automotive companies haven't tried all of this stuff on smaller scales and run into the same problems over and over again. Even going as far as to convert live pickers(lift trucks) and shunts(trucks that pick up trailers and back them into the loading dock) in warehouses to a "on rail" system where there's a guide wire in the floor/ground to help the trucks and lift trucks know where they're going and they'd still drive

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  This is Uber, their self driving cars don't have to be particularly safe or reliable, just cheap. I mean, if people are willing to risk assault and rape just to get a cheaper taxi, the odd self driving car going off a bridge won't stop them.

    • They sold Uber-China to Didi Chuxing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] And most of the money they're using is from investors. That's why they're trying to do an IPO, because they're running out of private Venture Capital funds.

    • They just need to dodge long enough to get automated vehicles up and going.

      Then they can fire all the people and this problem goes away.

    • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @07:40AM (#55505067) Homepage

      The other question is "where is the money going to?" Frankly, it looks to me that rather than actually do something within their company they're paying penance to various "anti-violence" organizations.

      This is the Jesse Jackson playbook in reverse. If you're not aware of his shakedown scam, he targets an organization claiming they have a racism problem. The "solution" is simple - a donation to his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition group fixes everything and he moves on to the next target.

      It really smells like Uber has decided that rather fix problems within their organization they'll throw money at a few outside organizations so that they can point to it whenever this topic comes up.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I keep hearing that Uber is throwing away money to make their name. Is this another example of that, and if so, where did they get the cash? Or are they actually making money now? Last I heard they were maybe profitable in the US, but still just flushing money down the toilet in China.

      You make it sound as if Uber has any plan to be profitable, they're a scheme to funnel the money of gullible VC's into the private offshore accounts of their owners. Uber is losing something to the tune of US$150,000,000 a quarter, so $5,000,000 is just a drop in the bucket and nothing but a sad attempt at getting positive PR by a scummy company struggling with its image, sorry but the irrational hate of traditional taxi companies has subsided now that Uber has the same problems... and who could have predic

    • I keep hearing that Uber is throwing away money to make their name. Is this another example of that, and if so, where did they get the cash? Or are they actually making money now? Last I heard they were maybe profitable in the US, but still just flushing money down the toilet in China.

      Heh, I was just thinking, "This is easy for Uber, it's not their money anyway!" They get their money from venture capital. They have raised a stupid amount of money; even stupider considering they don't actually make any money. Last I heard Uber subsidizes about $.40 of every dollar they charge for rides.

      I don't see how Uber ever makes a profit. But life has shown me that I'm not always the great visionary I sometimes fancy myself to be, so who knows. They already pay their drivers shit, and if they ra

    • thats a big turnover in drivers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Accuse company of misconduct, collect millions. Works like a charm.

  • It would also be nice if they could work towards preventing violence and assaults of any kind regardless of their characteristics. Considering a specific type of violence or victims more protection-worthy is discriminatory, short-sighted and, if you wish, violent with respect to other people/situations.

    People considering acceptable any form of violence because of whatever reason and even actively supporting those behaviours are the problem. It doesn't matter their gender, race, ideas or whether they are al
    • It would also be nice if they could work towards preventing violence and assaults of any kind regardless of their characteristics.

      Yes, they are. See, sexual assault is a kind of assault, and by reducing its occurrence, you can reduce the numbers of all assaults. See how that works?

      • Yes, they are. See, sexual assault is a kind of assault, and by reducing its occurrence, you can reduce the numbers of all assaults. See how that works?

        I think that the difference between the whole and a part of said whole should be quite evident for almost everyone. My point was to mostly focus on the whole thing (any kind of assault and violence against everyone) rather than just on a specific subset (sexual assault and violence against a specific group of people), by seeing it as a the same problem (violence-prone personalities) rather than specific sub-problems (sexual-assaulting-prone people). Additionally, by focusing on a subset you are expressly or

      • I feel it's like the efforts to convince more people to study STEM if there's a local shortage of competent engineers that somehow invariably converge to end up targeting girls. If you have 10%-20% women studying it, and similar ratios of high-schoolers' willingness to enter the college programme in question, it's reasonable to ask whether money is not better spent on trying to also convince the group of people who'll be more likely to get convinced. As soon as you're trying to convince a female that needs
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ... people who'll be more likely to get convinced ...

          Someone has decided that 40% of employees must be female and devotees run around madly when it's revealed that's not the case. I saw similar behaviour when communities had to be multi-cultural: In that case, the result was cultural isolation, in a large part, self-imposed; segregation; collapse of the community caused by segregation; gang-driven crime;a denial that subsequent gang violence was caused by said collapse.

          It's about proving that society is doing the right thing, even when the people involved,

      • The two types of violence that Uber can actively help with

        1. For those passengers that have doors visible from the road, you can ask your driver to wait and make sure you safely get in your place before they drive away. Many women take advantage of this when they live in a sketchy neighborhood and are returning home at night. It sure beats taking the bus.

        2. Passenger-on-driver violence. You may not like the type of background check an Uber driver gets, but the real problem is that passengers do not get a ba

        • Good samples of preventive measurements. And both of them applicable to a huge number of scenarios involving different people, attackers and aggressions. There is no need to be more specific.
    • Okay... but if you get shot do you go to the hospital and ask them to remove all foreign objects from your body or do you tell them to take out the bullet? There have been countless accusations of sexual assault by Uber drivers, not so much other types of violence.
      • There have been countless accusations of sexual assault by Uber drivers, not so much other types of violence.

        Fair point. In any case, my comment wasn't just meant for this specific situation, but also in general. There seems to be an increasing number of people and policies considering specific types of violence and victims intrinsically different what, IMHO, is wrong and doesn't help to solve the problem. Violence-prone people are pretty much the same everywhere and in every context. Being understanding with certain kinds of violence means to somehow validate other types. The sad reality is that people who are re

  • That covers 333,333 drivers. Is that going to be enough?

  • . . . not to use either slimeball David Boies' law firm, or Israeli slimeballs at Black Cube or Kroll:

    https://www.newyorker.com/news... [newyorker.com]
  • I had to do a double-take when I read this part of the list:

    ...No More, Women of Color Network...

    I thought for a moment that there was actually a network devoted to getting rid of women of color :-)

  • "Uber commits $5 million to mitigate fraudulent character assassination attempts from it's corporate enemies"

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