Uber files: Lobbyist Mark MacGann identifies himself as the whistleblower

Uber files: Lobbyist Mark MacGann identifies himself as the whistleblower

Lobbyist Mark MacGann said in The Guardian to be the whistleblower on the practices of Uber and the one who provided thousands of compromising documents on the American company to the British daily newspaper. Mark MacGann, who led the ride-hailing platform’s lobbying efforts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East between 2014 and 2016, decided to speak out because he believes Uber broke the law in dozens of countries and deceived people about the profits of the business model, according to The Guardian.

MacGann acknowledges his share of responsibility

Aged 52, he admits having his share of responsibility in the facts he denounces today: “I was the one who spoke to governments, who pushed (the Uber model) in the media, the one who told people that they should change the rules because drivers were going to benefit and people were going to have a lot of economic opportunities,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.

When the evolution of society has shown that “we sold a lie, how can you have a clear conscience if you don’t speak out against the way people are treated today?”, he adds.

Uber, symbol of the “gig economy”

Uber, which has become the symbol of the “gig economy” – or the economy of odd jobs resulting from internet platforms for consumer services – finds itself immersed in its tumultuous past since Sunday following an extensive investigation by journalists accusing the company of having “broken the law” and used brutal methods to impose itself despite the reluctance of politicians and taxi companies.

The Guardian shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) some 124,000 documents, dated from 2013 to 2017, including emails and messages from Uber executives at the time, as well as presentations, notes and invoices.

On Sunday, several press organizations (including The Washington Post, The World and the bbc) published their first articles from these “Uber Files”. They highlight certain practices of Uber during these years of rapid expansion but also of confrontations, from Paris to Johannesburg.

Macron quoted in the Uber files

The world was particularly interested in the links between American society and Emmanuel Macron when he was Minister of the Economy (2014-2016). Certain practices intended to help Uber consolidate its positions in France are pointed out, such as suggesting that the company present “turnkey” amendments to deputies.

Uber says it has changed since the 2017 ousting of its former boss Travis Kalanick, who used controversial and questionable methods and created a largely toxic corporate culture. The spokesman for the latter on Sunday refuted all the accusations of the newspapers, including that of obstruction of justice.


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