Remember the infamous letter that was delivered to ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on June 20, 2017? That letter, which was was written on behalf of Benchmark, First Round Capital, Menlo Ventures, Lowercase Capital, and Fidelity Investments, would ultimately force Kalanick out.
The memo was unsealed as part of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo over alleged trade secrets. Although the companies settled more than a year ago, a judge ruled
that some of the evidence should be revealed to the public.
a full reproduction of the letter. The investors explain that Uber’s recent scandals have put the business at risk. They go on:
Among the enormously troubling developments that have recently come to light are the issues of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that prompted the Holder Report, as well as publicly reported allegations about the behavior of Uber’s senior executives in connection with the India rape incident and other matters. The ongoing Waymo trade secret litigation and Greyball investigation are also extremely serious and unresolved.
The incidents that the letter alludes to include ‘Greyball
,’ a secret software tool that helped Uber drivers avoid local law enforcement in cities where the company routinely battled regulators. Uber also allegedly obtained & mishandled the medical records of a woman
in India who was raped by an Uber driver.
Now, the company vows to set new standards for data privacy and security. Ruby Zefo, Uber’s first chief privacy officer, joined the ride hailing company nearly six months ago to focus on those efforts. She is trying to make the company’s data privacy practices more rigorous, implement new safety features for passengers, and create new security standards that guide the development of all new products.
“We made our mistake; we admitted it; we paid our price,” Zefo tells Fortune
. “Now it’s time to change the narrative.”
While it sounds like Zefo has good intentions, the genie’s out of the bottle. Uber is one of several tech giants who have compromised user data in a way that the public has found unforgivable. At one point, the company tried to hide a massive data breach
that affected some 57 million passengers and drivers.
Zefo’s hardest job won’t be to implement new safety features for passengers; it’ll be to regain the trust of the passengers Uber lost.