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Uber’s Troubles Pile Up in Argentina—Again

April 27, 2016, 1:35 PM UTC
Andrew Matthews PA Wire/PA Images

Uber launched in Argentina on April 12, and its first two weeks of operation there have been rough, to say the least.

From the very start, enraged taxi drivers were blockading streets in protest at the launch. A day later, a Buenos Aires court ordered officials to shut Uber down, in a victory for the taxi unions. Officials then told mobile operators to block Uber and raided the company’s offices.

Now, to top it all off, the Argentine government has opened an investigation into Uber’s handling of personal data.

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The country’s data protection agency has asked Uber to explain what data it collect from its customers, where the information is stored and how it is protected.

The firm has 10 days in which to comply with the request, which was announced on Monday.

“In light of recent events, of which the public is aware, the administration opened an investigation of Uber’s operations,” Eduardo Bertoni, the Argentinian data protection chief, said, according to reports.

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The Argentinian president, Mauricio Macri, has backed the wide-ranging crackdown on Uber in Buenos Aires, saying the city’s taxi drivers are “a symbol of the city and of Argentina.”

As in much of the world, Uber has been meeting strong resistance from Latin American taxi drivers, who have also been protested in countries such as Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. There has been a degree of coordination between the taxi unions in those countries and their counterparts in Europe.

The traditional taxi drivers are angry that Uber’s drivers are taking away their business with lower prices, without having to go through the same expensive training and licensing that they have to go through by law.