Uber cover up triggers worldwide probes

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A man arrives at the Uber offices in Queens, New York. REUTERS

TORONTO (Reuters) – Governments around the globe launched investigations into Uber Technologies Inc after the company disclosed it had covered up a breach that exposed data on millions of customers and drivers, the latest scandal to rock the ride-hailing firm.

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Authorities in Britain and the United States, two top Uber markets, as well as Australia and the Philippines said on Wednesday they would investigate the company’s response to the data breach.

Some US lawmakers called for Congressional hearings and implored the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into the matter.

Uber said on Tuesday that in late 2016 it had paid hackers $100,000 to destroy data on more than 57 million customers and driver stolen from the company and decided not to report the matter to victims or authorities.

Uber representatives could not be reached on Wednesday to comment on the response from authorities. The company’s chief executive had acknowledged in a Tuesday blog that the company had erred in handling the breach.

The money-losing ride-hailing service is known for the tough stance it has taken against regulators as it seeks to aggressively expand and compete with existing taxi services.

Attorneys general in at least four US states, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, said they had launched investigations into the breach.

“We have serious concerns about the reported conduct,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal took to Twitter to call for the FTC to investigate Uber, describing the company’s behavior as “inexplicable” and asking for the FTC to impose “significant penalties.”

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