Ola to enter Australian market

Image Source: OLA
Caption: Ola has captured the Indian taxi-hailing app market entirely in no time
India’s taxi-hailing app service, Ola is stepping up for its first international venture in Australia. Currently, the Australian market is dominated by Ola’s rival in India, Uber. Just like how it captured the Indian market, it may have better plans for the market abroad. The rapid growth of the Bangalore based service which started in 2011, was quick and immense. Ola will soon start the recruitment process of its drivers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, where it plans to launch the service first. The firm has earned massive profits over the years who now claims to have 125 million users in India.
Ola has now appointed a financial technology entrepreneur to manage the feature of Ola Money, where payments of your ride can be done through this digital payment platform of its own. It was backed up by investors from Japan’s SoftBank and US fund Tiger Global Management. The firm is waiting for the regulatory approval from Australia who promises to give high quality and an affordable traveling experience like never before to its customers there.
“We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation,” said Ola’s chief executive and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal to BBC. 

Uber to end post-trip tracking of riders

Uber Technologies Inc has decided to pull off the tracking feature from its app which allows it to track a customer up to five minutes post a trip.

Starting this week, ‘ability to share location data only while using the app’, will be rolled out to Apple Inc iPhone users. It comes at a time when Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises culminating in the ouster of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of travel-booking company Expedia Inc prepares to become Uber’s new chief executive, as reported by Reuters.

Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, said that he and his team have been working to bring in better customer privacy at Uber since he joined in 2015.

The change comes in just two weeks after Uber settled a U.S. Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company unsuccessful in protecting the personal data of drivers and passengers and was deceptive about its efforts to prevent snooping by its employees.

Sullivan said, the location-tracking update will initially only be available to iPhone users, but Uber intends to bring this change to Android devices as well.

These changes are a part of a series of updates expected in the upcoming year to increase privacy, security, and transparency at Uber, Sullivan added.


Sources- Reuters and NDTV



Aadhar Data leaked, software engineer accused

Our Aadhar details are promised to be kept secured with the government of India. After numerous breeches and data leaks, yet again a software development engineer working in Ola’s head office at Koramangala was arrested on account of misusing Aadhar data obtained without authentication.

A complaint was filed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) against Abhinav Srivastav (31), an IIT Kharagpur graduate who is accused of hacking into the data repository of UIDAI, gaining access through the e-hospital server, an initiative by the Government of India.

The complaint to the police was made on 26th July, which stated that Srivastav had accessed the data without authorization between January 1  and July 26 via an app called ‘eKYC Verification’.

The app is developed by an entity linked to a start-up Quarth Technologies, which is acquired by taxi service giant Ola. The app provided demographic details to users, it had 50,000 downloads. Srivastav had already earned Rs. 40,000 through advertisements.

After hacking into the server, he used it to send verification requests to the UIDAI database for his own app. The UIDAI system allowed access under the impression that the authentication requests were from the e-hospital system hence not unauthorized,’’ a police source said. Investigations proceed to confirm if the app he developed was used in any form by Ola.

The e-hospital app, hosted on the cloud services of NIC, facilitates online appointments at hospitals using eKYC data of Aadhaar number, if patient’s mobile number is registered with UIDAI, if not it uses the patient’s name. Srivastava’s eKYC Verification app mimicked the e-hospital app in accessing the identity authentication services of UIDAI.



Minor brutally raped, murdered by cab drivers in Kolkata


Sensation prevailed in the Park Circus area of Kolkata when a 12-year-old was kidnapped, gang-raped and brutally murdered by two Ola cab drivers on Tuesday night. The victim, a pavement dweller lived with her mother on the Brabourne Road. The duo, Shankar Shaw and Guddu Singh allegedly forced the victim into the cab after which this heinous incident took place. They were said to be in an inebriated state when they looked for their prey. She was reported missing at the Hare Street Police Station on Wednesday morning at around 5 am. Police investigations found the body that was dumped under a flyover locally known as Ma flyover. The autopsy reports revealed that the girl was raped in turns and then strangulated to death.

The accused duo arrested by the Kolkata police has confessed to doing this act. Ola officials said that the incident did not occur while on the platform. Its spokesperson further assured that the company will give aid to the authorities for probing the incident. Such incidents raise several eyebrows about the safety of children in our country.

Sources NDTVDeccan Chronicle

Auto strike in Delhi against app based transport services

Many daily commuters in Delhi could feel the pinch of the 85,000 missing Autos and 15,000 yellow black Taxis as the drivers go on an indefinite strike. The Transport Union complained about the “step-motherly” treatment given to them by the Delhi Government as app- based transport services like Ola and Uber are taking their livelihood away ; reported The Hindu.

The strike however became a bane to thousands of commuters who even after de-boarding from the metro need some last mile connectivity. It also left many passengers stranded in places like Connaught place, railway stations, and ISBTs.

The Joint Action Committee formed by the twenty unions of taxis and autos has called for an indefinite strike. According to the Delhi government, the strike is “politically motivated “and taking app based cab services off the roads are out of their ambit. They also said that the center should do something in this regard.

Kishan Verma,  President of All Delhi Auto-Taxi Transport Congress Union (ADATTCU), said the drivers of auto and taxi drivers are protesting against app-based services. “ Ola and Uber  don’t have the permit to run their cars in Delhi. They take away livelihood of our people.” reported The Indian Express.

This is the first time unions affiliated to major political parties have come together.

Ola Cabs buy TaxiForSure in a $200mn deal

Ola Cabs, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank, announced that it has acquired its competitor TaxiForSure for $200 million (Rs 1238 crore) in a cash and equity deal.

Ola Cabs being an online cab aggregator, this deal is the second largest deal in consumer internet space after Flipkart’s $370 million acquisition of Myntra in 2014. This deal has made Ola the leader in taxi aggregator business in India.

Both companies will continue to operate as separate companies but this move could be aimed at lowering costs for Ola.

Arvind Singhal, who is currently the COO for TaxiForSure will be appointed as the CEO and 1700 employees shall also continue to work with the same company. Founders of TaxiForSure, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Raghunandan G will be advisors for a certain period.

Ola has more than one lakh vehicles and is present in 67 cities whereas TaxiForSure operates in 47 cities with over 15000 registered vehicles.  TaxiForSure targets the economy segment of cab consumers with Rs 49 as base fare.

Customers, drivers and operators wouldn’t have any change and booking for a cab will continue to be accessed from TaxiForSure’s technology platform. Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola, said, “Ola and TaxiForSure share the same vision of revolutionizing urban mobility. TaxiForSure has a great team and they have built a very exciting business in a short time. There’s a lot of complementary value in the strategy TaxiForSure has followed. I’m very excited to welcome the TaxiForSure team onboard and look forward to working with them towards realizing our common vision.”

Raghunandan G, Co-founder and CEO, TaxiForSure, said, “TaxiForSure coming together with Ola will provide us with more opportunity than ever, to do what we do best. Post this acquisition; the combined entity will be strong enough and better capitalized to offer the best value to all our stakeholders, including our customers.”