Emil Michael, senior executive at Uber, suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.
After that a senior editor Ellen Cushing complained of blackmail by the manager of the company as he threatened to use her personal data to track the location of the girl.
On the 16th of November Uber organized dinner. The dinner was hosted by Ian Osborne, a former adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron and consultant to the company. At the dinner, the executive, Emil Michael, outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. 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. After the statement was leaked to the press, Michael retracted his words.
Uber`s CEO Travis Kalanick apologized for the words of the top executive. In addition, Uber issued an official denial of the fact that the company may use customer information for the purpose of blackmail - Uber assures users their data can only be obtained for a "legitimate" purpose. Mashable claimed that according to Uber, those "legitimate business purposes" include troubleshooting bugs, checking accounts for fraudulent activity, facilitating payments and "supporting riders and drivers in order to solve problems brought to their attention by the Uber community."
In early August 2014 Uber and Lyft services accused each other in ordering fictitious trips. Lyft representatives said that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 rides from rival. Uber representatives in response to competitor accused Lyft of 13 thousand bogus calls. In late August, there was a rumor that Uber is not simply asks its employees to book and cancel a trip to Lyft, but employs for that special people who are issued a temporary mobile phones and credit cards. Uber denied this information.