Uber’s Secret “Greyball” Program Allegedly Targeted Law-Enforcement Officials
Uber reportedly has been using a secret program to help the company evade law-enforcement officers in addition to also also transportation officials in markets across the globe where the legality of the ride-hailing service can be under scrutiny or in question.
In developments first reported Friday by the brand new York Times, multiple current in addition to also also former employees of the ride-hailing service said Uber maintained a program designed to identify people, such as code enforcement or police officers, who might be using the app to collect evidence of the company’s operations.
This particular included a tool called Greyball. When users tagged with the phrase in their profiles attempted to summon an Uber vehicle, the company could “scramble a set of ghost cars inside a fake design of the app for which person to see, or show no cars available at all,” according to the Times report.
Although multiple employees raised ethical in addition to also also legal concerns about Greyball, Uber lawyers had approved of the program, according to the report.
Uber acknowledged the existence of the program. In a response, an Uber spokesperson said, “This particular program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service—whether which’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers.”
Friday’s developments are the latest in a string of reports which depict a company culture which embraces boundary pushing, rule bending, in addition to also also, in some cases, sexual harassment. Last month, a former Uber engineer wrote in detail about the hostile work environment she said female workers faced within the San Francisco–based company. Earlier This particular week, video surfaced of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with one of the company’s drivers over the introduction of lower-cost services which undercut drivers’ earnings.
Last week, Waymo, the company spun out via Google’s self-driving car project, filed a lawsuit against Uber, alleging which the company’s top autonomous-driving executive, Anthony Levandowski, stole more than 14,000 confidential documents which contained proprietary information in addition to also also trade secrets, which he later allegedly brought to Uber.
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In December, California Department of Motor Vehicles officials revoked the registrations of more than a dozen Uber self-driving vehicles which were testing on the state’s public roads without the required permit. More recently, Uber’s self-driving-truck subsidiary, Otto, has received more scrutiny via California DMV officials following reports the technology being tested may run afoul of the state’s autonomous-testing regulations.