Uber Bans Guns, New York Driver Robbed at Gunpoint

Within weeks of announcing that the company would not allow drivers to carry guns, an Uber driver in New York has been robbed at gunpoint.

The Anti Media recently reported that Uber announced that they will be firing any drivers who are caught violating the new policy—which apparently went into effect nearly two weeks ago—because they contend that an unarmed driver makes their customers feel more safe.

Now the New York Daily News reports that a 22-year old Uber driver was robbed with a gun by a potential passenger. The driver stopped “on 67th Ave. and Burns St. in Rego Park just after midnight” to meet his client. When the man got in the car he pointed a rifle at the driver, demanding all his money. The driver gave the man $60 and ran.  Uber says they are investigating.

The story is vastly different from a recent scene in Chicago where an Uber driver defended a crowd of people from a shooter. In April TruthInMedia reported:

“An Uber driver in Chicago with a concealed carry license defended himself and a group of pedestrians against a man who opened fire on a crowded street Friday night, a state attorney said in court on Sunday.

Assistant State Attorney Barry Quinn said that 22-year-old Everardo Custodio began shooting at a group of pedestrians shortly before midnight Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The driver, who has a state-issued firearm owner’s identification card, pulled out a shotgun and fired six times, hitting Custodio in the shin, knee and lower back, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.”

The bad publicity for Uber comes as the company has faced a wave of backlash in recent weeks for the possible monitoring of its drivers.

When Uber announced an upcoming policy change taking place on July 15, the company noted that in addition to collecting information on drivers when they use the service, they “may also collect the precise location of your device when the app is running in the foreground or background.” The announcement sparked fears that the company would monitor sensitive data about drivers even when they were not operating the phone app.

In response to the announcement, the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the policy change.

“Uber will claim the right to collect personal information and detailed location data of American consumers, even when they are not using the service,” EPIC said in its complaint.

A spokeswoman for Uber said there was “no basis for this complaint” and that the company hasn’t made a final decision about whether to track user phones when the apps are inactive.

The company is not only working to track drivers in the U.S., indeed Uber has already been tracking the activities of drivers in China.

Earlier this month, the Chinese city of Hangzhou was the center of protests by local taxi drivers against Uber. The taxi drivers say Uber is unfair competition. According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber sent to messages to its drivers in Hangzhou warning them not to go to the protest and for any drivers in the area to leave immediately. Uber said it would use GPS to find out which drivers refused to leave and cancel contracts accordingly. Uber claimed this was done to “maintain social order.”

This is not the first time the company has come under fire for discussing tracking individuals. In November 2014, Uber’s Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael discussed spending “a million dollars” to hire researchers to investigate journalists who write unfavorably about the company. BuzzFeed reported:

“That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.”

What does all this mean for Uber? What does it mean for ride sharing? Leave your thoughts below.