Uber Settles Lawsuit Alleging It Obtained Rape Victim in India's Confidential Medical Records

By Tom McKay on at

Uber has been accused of a lot of very, very bad things over the course of its existence, including a culture of rampant sexual harassment, spying on competitors and users, and covering up hacks by paying off the hackers. But one of the worst things it’s allegedly done was shadily obtaining the medical records of an 26-year-old female passenger raped by an Uber driver in India in order to try to discredit her account as an act of corporate sabotage.

Uber fired president of business in the Asia Pacific region Eric Alexander, the man who Recode reported compiled the shady report, in June 2017. Now, federal court records show Uber has settled a lawsuit the victim filed over the incident for an undisclosed amount of money, the New York Times reported. According to her complaint, Uber intentionally obtained the confidential medical information from Delhi police.

Driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison. As Recode noted, a more robust background check system for contractors might have picked up on the fact he was awaiting trial for several crimes. But Uber publicly shifted the blame to the Indian government at the same time it was internally mulling the possibility the rape was a setup.

“Uber executives duplicitously and publicly decried the rape, expressing sympathy for plaintiff, and shock and regret at the violent attack, while privately speculating, as outlandish as it is, that she had colluded with a rival company to harm Uber’s business,” the lawsuit read.

Though this likely puts an end to the civil liability dimension of the incident, Uber’s overall legal woes over the incident do not appear to be going away.

Per the Times, a US Department of Justice inquiry into Uber’s possible violations of anti-bribery laws “focused on activity in at least five Asian countries” is still ongoing, spurred in part by its conduct in India. Uber has also hired a law firm, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, to figure out exactly how executives obtained the medical information.

Though new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is trying to reform the company’s culture, he has his work cut out for him. Earlier this month, emails obtained by Recode showed management told Uber’s security team that if they were “working on any kind of competitive intelligence project that involves the surveillance of individuals, stop it now.”

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story, but we’ll update if we hear back. [New York Times]


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