California Uber driver charged with raping woman in car after trip home


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/26/california-uber-driver-charged.html


#2

Sigh…

The hits keep in coming


#3

I am Travis Kalanick
I’m a douche and utter dick
And I’m Uber’s president
Public transit will soon go 'way
I’ll put a rapist in your driveway
I will upcharge all of you
Your kids will pay for rides to school
Your kids will pay for rides to school
California Uber Drivers, California Uber Drivers,
Uber Drivers California


#4

Ugh. I was just listening to the New York Times’ investigation of Uber and its toxic misogynistic corporate culture this morning. I don’t know if it’s fair to lay the blame for this particular crime at CEO Travis Kalanick’s feet but he certainly had a big part in creating the environment where it was bound to happen eventually.


#5

I mean, the gig economy works by allowing the employer to do away with a lot of things that impose cost on operations.

Like background checks for employees. Not saying that this guy has a record, but if he did, he’d probably not have been allowed to be in charge of the safety of passengers as a cab driver.

Which is a sticky enough issue in and of itself. I’m also a firm believer that people can be rehabilitated after paying their debt to society. (But that’s another topic)


#6

I’ve never understood this fascination of posting name and photo of people just for being accused of a crime. What about “innocent until proven guilty”, because don’t think being publicly shamed like this isn’t a serious punishment. Doesn’t matter if he is found innocent in a court later on, google remembers.


#7

In fact, here in Germany it is actually illegal as it might just be that an accused person is innocent – a lost reputation cannot be regained.


#8


#9

I’m no Uber apologist, and have yet to use their service because, well, they’re Uber, but this doesn’t strike me as in any way specific to Uber or “the gig economy”. In fact at least with services like Uber there’s accountability and the driver is easy to track down, unlike with traditional taxi services where the driver can disappear into the fleet. And it’s not like there’s much vetting when people are hired to be regular cab drivers either.


#10

I took a ride share for recently- not saying which firm - and I’ve only taken three of these - but they were in a different car than the app showed - and the way they had their hat on - not sure they were the same driver in the pic. It was raining hard & I just went with it.

But I was thinking the whole time that someone just lent someone else their phone for the day who maybe couldn’t get an account on their own and took a percentage. I didn’t feel particularly safe - not that the driver did anything- but - who is this person?

The sub gig economy?


#11

The sub-gig economy IS a real thing. See recent UK stories about “independent contractors” who do parcel delivery rounds for certain parcel delivery firms, and have to pay the delivery firm a ‘fine’ if they are sick, for example, and unable to provide a substitute that day, so the delivery firm can allegedly use that ‘fine’ to arrange and pay for a replacement.


#12

Not sure how well cab companies screen people. Or, like you said, lots of people don’t have records. Though I am pretty sure Uber DOES have cursory background checks.

ETA - talked to co-worker who Ubers. Uber does a check, and the CITY also makes you go through the same check as cab drivers.

Though anecdotal story, my wife lost her cell phone in a cab, and the next day we had $200 worth of calls to Ethiopia. Cab company said no one had found the phone and it basically wasn’t their problem. I guess it was a coincidence her driver was from Ethiopia. Oh well. Don’t lose your phone, lesson learned. For once her policy of “never have more than a quarter charge on the phone” was a good thing.


#13

To be fair, Uber does do driver background checks, though apparently imperfectly. https://www.fastcompany.com/3050172/the-truth-about-ubers-background-checks


#14

I’m not sure what exactly this has to do with Uber.


#15

It is literally the exact opposite. Like, each of the things you ascribed to Uber, and each of the points you brought against regular cabs are in fact the problems and benefits of the other. You are completely wrong in every way you could have been, and may god have mercy on your soul.

Cab companies vet employees with things like “meeting the employee in person” and “actually doing a background check”, and nobody “disappears” into the fleet, like where the heck did you get that idea from? Drivers know each other, the company knows the drivers. Uber lets any rando with a “new” car and a smartphone drive for them. This idea that Wikipedia-style “the masses will sort it out” customer service/business practices is how you end up with situations like in the article.


#16

Any ‘taxiing’ service has the potential for this. Many years ago in NYC, a woman in labor (and needing to get to the hospital fast) was raped by the ambulance driver and assistant who picked her up. They didn’t drop her off at the hospital, but at some location short of it. Lovely.


#17

Holy shit! What? Are you serious? o_0 I don’t get raping 70 year olds either, but I really don’t get raping someone going into labor.


#18

There are NUMEROUS cases of ambulance personnel raping women.

I believe that says much, much less about ambulance drivers (and other taxiing service employees) than it does about women in some disadvantageous situation, isolated in the company of men who have some power over them.


#19

They do in fact do background checks. I applied at uber about 2 years ago and they didnt hire me over something that happened 10 years ago.


#20

Wow, that’s some strong language! Having a bad day?

FYI Uber runs background checks and does in fact meet their drivers in person before hiring them. Further reading:

If someone is driving a car that looks exactly like 5,000 other cars, and someone hailed them anonymously, the driver can blend into traffic relatively easily after robbing the customer or whatever. Unless the customer has already paid with a credit card (which only happens at the end of the ride, at best) it’s a completely anonymous transaction. I’ve taken 100 yellow cabs in my life and I don’t remember a single one of the driver’s names. But I can get a list of every Lyft driver I’ve ever been driven by.