back to article Uber's dud private dick given a hard time by judge in stiff surge case

A private investigator hired by Uber potentially broke the law while digging up dirt on someone suing the taxi app biz, a New York judge has ruled. Information gathered by the dodgy sleuth cannot be used in court by Uber, the beak added. Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick were sued by New Yorker Spencer Meyer, who accused them …

  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Uber is prepared to push the envelope of legality

    Isn't this their entire business model?

    1. Chris King

      Re: Uber is prepared to push the envelope of legality

      Sometimes I find myself wondering if they're also pushing the envelope addressed to Common Sense...

  2. evlncrn8

    typo

    "an private investigation"... cmon guys, you're better than this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: typo

      I think you'll find that as the noun (investigation) starts with a vowel that the statement correct, private in this case being an adjective.

      However, if the adjective and noun had been joined by a hyphen then you would have been correct.

      The anomoly in the very first sentence is explained (IIRC) that it is not permissable to start a sentence with An.

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: typo

        A quick browse to Newman's Idea of a University at Gutenberg.org, followed by a ctrl-f, turns up 'an abstract love', an 'intimate conviction', 'an "English Gentleman"'. One usually hears of Newman as a master of English prose.

        As for beginning a sentence with 'An', it sounds to me as if you are thinking of the rule proposed against beginning a sentence with 'And'. As a general guideline it may be good, but better writers than those of the style books begin sentences with 'And', as for example in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address: 'And the war came'.

        1. Mark Exclamation

          Re: typo

          And don't forget, you should never use a preposition to end a sentence with!

        2. Fluffy Cactus

          Re: typo

          I am sure there are rules against beginning a sentence with "And".

          So that bible verse in Genesis 1, 3 is grammatically totally wrong:

          "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light."

          Not only that, but the same mistake is repeated in verse 6, 9, and 14.

          We must fix that NOW!

          Quick someone notify the pope, and the Church of England, and the Evangelists

          in the States, and the Baptists, and and and...

          And what not!

          Buwahahaahaha!

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: typo

        "I think you'll find that as the noun (investigation) starts with a vowel that the statement correct, private in this case being an adjective."

        Ummmm. No. Learn grammar. No wonder this language is going to pot when faulty logic is applied.

      3. Fluffy Cactus

        Re: typo

        Sorry, but anomoly is spelled anomaly.

        I often amuse myself by replying to comments on comments that complain about a typo, and then commit the "crime of a typo" themselves. Or is it themself? No, wait, let me think. it's definitely themselves. Right, it's "why don't you go impeach yourself !" and "They went and impeached themselves". Sometimes you have to test it in a sentence, to be sure.

        You know what I mean. At least you should know what I mean, because there are several types of typos, to be specific:

        1) Typos that are caused by typing on a tiny smart phone, with autocorrect going haywire. Garsh how I hate these tiny keyboards! If anyone told me in 1993 that in 15 years people will type messages on tiny

        keyboards, using just their thumbs, and would find people who didn't like this totally uncool, then I'd have

        told them they were crazy. But they have been un-crazy, the way cancers are described as non-small.

        Beep beep digression alert.

        2) Typos that are just typing speed related, but you still get what they are saying.

        3) Typos that show that you are uneducated, like you are sounding out words as if you never read a book.

        4) Typos that show you spell the same word in different ways, which show a free spirit of experimentation with poetry, song, theatre, dance, music and art involved, and anyone who is against that is just not with it. Scoff, eyeroll, bananas. (Is theatre spelled theater in the UK? I use US English, at least I try.)

        4a) Typos that mean well, but at least they are honest, even if they are just dumb.

        4b) Typos that are cute because you love her, him, them, it, everyone. Well not everyone.

        4c) Typos that make you wanna punch someone because you are a Trumpelstilzkin.

        5) Typos that don't cahnge teh maenign of a sentnece copmleltey.

        6) Typos taht actaully do chagne tha meowing oif oe smelter or seltzer compeltetly. Like saying "do" when you mean "don't".

        In my mind then, only the #6 variety require specific correction. I am fully convinced that is utterly useless amd wholly abnormal of me to remind the commentor that anomoly is spelled anomaly, because we all could have figured that much out.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: typo

      OK OK – just like software has bugs, articles have typos from time to time. It's fixed. Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.co.uk if you spot anything wrong, so we can fix it right away rather than after we've had a chance to catch up with comments.

      C.

  3. Lou 2
    Happy

    The judge's name is Rakoff

    Hand me my coat - I'm leaving.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uber

    May appear mean and nasty to some

  5. MonkeyCee

    Just curious

    About that whole "off the record" thing.

    Now, I'm not a journalist, and I'm always reluctant to let them into my life based off previous experiences* (all writers steal, at least authors of fiction bother to disguise you a bit), but as I understood it *nothing* is ever off the record. You can ask to not be specifically named (which is what it usually means) but it will still get attributed, since making up quotes/facts is A Bad Thing, leading to a career in politics a la BoJo.

    So if the Buzzfeed chap realised this, the difference would have been instead of Emil Michael as the source of the quote, a "person in a position of leadership at Uber" would have been the source.

    If you say something *to* a journalist, or in public, I thought it's fair game.

    Be good to know from an actual journo what the deal is.

    * journalists are often not too bad, but will record everything you say, then their editor will pick all the bits that conform to the juiciest story, without regard for any promises made.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Just curious

      Case in point, MonkeyCee, the recent incident involving a former Tory chairman, another Tory politician, a Sky News studio and Kay Burley. Sky News and Burley claim that you should not have an expectation of 'off the record' once a microphone is clipped onto you. Other media players have disagreed and it's opened up a debate on media ethics...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just curious

        I was surprised by the muted response from the rest of the media on that. It seemed quite clear that Sky had pissed all over journalistic ethics to get a some quality airtime. Even I know the difference between on and off the record.

        http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/07/05/sky-news-faces-twitter-backlash-after-broadcasting-ken-clarkes-candid-air-comments

    2. I am the liquor Silver badge

      Re: Just curious

      The revelation about Uber's apparent plan to smear and undermine critics seems like the sort of thing that every journalist present should have published, "off the record" or not. Allowing corporate malfeasance to go unreported is surely a dereliction of duty for any ethical journalist.

      Ken Clarke's personal opinions are a rather different matter; nothing more than tittle-tattle. There was no over-riding public interest justification that compelled the reporting of them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just curious

      Now, I'm not a journalist, and I'm always reluctant to let them into my life based off previous experiences* (all writers steal, at least authors of fiction bother to disguise you a bit), but as I understood it *nothing* is ever off the record. You can ask to not be specifically named (which is what it usually means) but it will still get attributed, since making up quotes/facts is A Bad Thing, leading to a career in politics a la BoJo.

      It depends on the sort of event you go to, but if there are restrictions about information they tend to be expressed at the time of invitation. I personally do not think much of confidentiality demands of larger events because they betray a degree of naivety of the host, but I do frequently end up at sessions where the Chatham House Rule applies, which I think is fair enough. In the main you are correct - especially at public events there's no such thing as off the record.

      However, I have the pleasure of knowing quite a few journalists who have ethics, respect confidentiality and correctly follow time embargoes - some of these work for El Reg..

  6. Fortycoats
    WTF?

    Following Uber's "business practices"

    So Uber, who basically are using unlicensed taxi drivers to do the actual work, pay a private investigation firm which then goes and uses an unlicensed investigator to do the actual work?

    But the latter wasn't legal, according to the Judge. So what about the former?

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