Sydney to Paris: Uber's 5 biggest issues right now

Uber missteps in Sydney hostage drama

Taxi app Uber has never been far from controversy in the past few weeks.

On top of a series of bans across Europe and Asia, there have been allegations of rape against one of its drivers and concerns over use of its technologies to spy on critics.

CNBC looks at the five biggest global pressure points facing Uber.

Sydney price spikes

Users in Sydney logging into Uber's app as the hostage crisis in the city center unfurled reported that fares had been raised on rides.

The spike in fares was due to the San Francisco-based firm's automated surge pricing, which raises fees based on higher demand.

"Fares have increased to encourage more drivers to come online and pick up passengers in the area," Uber initially said on its Twitter account.

But following public protest, the taxi app has said in a statement that it was refunding customers and offering free rides out of Sydney's central business district.

France ban on UberPop

UberPop will be banned in France from January 1, the French Interior Ministry said on Monday, stopping short of banning Uber altogether.

The controversial UberPop service allows drivers without a professional taxi license to register with Uber and offer trips in their own cars at a cheaper rate.

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet branded the service "illegal", in an interview with French TV channel iTELE, adding that there is a "real danger" for consumers.

Uberpop is a 'danger' to French customers

The announcement comes after a French commercial court declined to ban the service on Friday.

Taxi unions enraged by Uber were involved in a protest around Paris on Monday morning by driving slowly in order to block major roads.

"We continue to have an open dialog with all relevant stakeholders and believe we share the same objectives, namely to integrate innovative solutions into the mobility mix in France as well as to keep Paris moving, offering different safe, reliable and affordable transportation options for people," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

Uber also faces issues across Europe. The ride hailing app has already been suspended in Spain and the Netherlands.

Delhi rape controversy

Along with other web-based taxi services, Uber has been banned in the Indian capital of Delhi after one of its drivers allegedly raped a customer.

A 26-year-old woman was taken to an isolated area and raped on her way home on a Friday night, according to media reports. The incident sparked further criticism of Uber's driver vetting process, which has been slammed for being too lax.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement that the incident was "horrific" and would do everything "to help bring this perpetrator to justice.

Lawsuit in Portland

Uber has also run into problems in its homeland after the Portland sued the taxi app to stop it operating in the U.S. city.

Portland argued that Uber is in violation of local rules after the service opened up in the city earlier this month.

"Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement.

"We're eager to work with City and State leaders to bring the impact of the Uber platform to Portland and cut down on drunk driving, serve underserved communities, increase transit to small business and help drive the local economy," Uber said in a blog post.

Not going away: Journalist spy row

Uber's culture has also been demonstrated in the top brass of the company, after one executive suggested digging up dirt on journalists.

Emil Michael, Uber's senior vice president of business outlined a plan to hire four researchers and four journalists to look into the personal lives of journalists critical of the company, according to a Buzzfeed report.

Buzzfeed also released a report detailing how one of its reporters was tracked using Uber's "God View" – which allows drivers to see all of the app's users in a city who have hailed a ride.

Michael later apologized for the comments and the company has since hired top law firm Hogan Lovells to audit its privacy policy.