Technology

Brazil court tells Uber to cease and desist -- but so far, it hasn't

Authorities have ordered Uber to suspend its activities in Brazil, and for app store operators to disable the product nationally, arguing that the San Francisco quasi-taxi company violates local transportation laws.

The injunction, issued Tuesday by Sao Paulo's State Court, is the latest in a series of international regulatory challenges presented to America's most valuable venture-backed start-up. 

The court gave Uber three days to halt services nationwide or face fines of about $30,000 a day. Google, Samsung, Apple and Microsoft were ordered to cease delivering the application and to remotely suspend Uber apps already installed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the app was active and offering a number of ride options for downtown Sao Paulo.

A public relations company representing Uber in Sao Paulo said Wednesday that it had not been notified of the decision.

“Uber is a technology company that connects private partner drivers with users. We reiterate publicly that we are committed to offering Sao Paulo residents a safe and trustworthy urban transportation alternative,” the company said by email.

Uber arrived in Brazil last May, and though many Brazilians use another app to order traditionally regulated taxis, Uber has been active and readily available in recent months, often offering lower prices than the taxi fleet.

Brazil is Latin America's largest country, and the world's seventh-largest economy. Its over 200 million residents have provided a fertile market for other U.S.-based “sharing economy” services, such as Airbnb.

Uber has faced similar regulatory battles around the world, with Germany banning it last month, and South Korea, France and Spain have investigated the company for violating local transportation laws. Uber founder Travis Kalanick was indicted by South Korean prosecutors in  December, charged with violating transportation laws.

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