The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe into Uber over an unauthorized computer software which the taxi app firm used to spy on Lyft drivers between 2014 and 2016.
The investigation is a joint cooperation between the Manhattan US attorney’s office and the agency’s New York office. The Manhattan US attorney’s office has been targeting Uber over his “anti-competitive strategies” since last year.
Uber said that they are cooperating with investigators, but refused to offer more details about the case.
Earlier this year, The Information found that Uber’s tracking program dubbed “Hell” generated false Lyft accounts. Then, it used the phony rider accounts to spy on and track its rival’s drivers. The company was especially interested in whether Lyft drivers were available in certain parts of the city at a specified time.
The information helped Uber deploy its own drivers to the areas not covered by Lyft drivers in real time. The software is called “Hell” in response to two tracking programs the ride-hailing service is using on its own employees and customers: “God View” and “Heaven view”.
Uber Tracking Its Own Drivers
Hell also enabled Uber to track its drivers that worked for Lyft. The company used the info to encourage those drivers with perks to ditch its rival. Company representatives said they stopped using Hell last year.
In 2017, a former Lyft driver sued Uber over the use of the controversial program. According to the class action suit, Uber’s tracking actions infringed drivers’ privacy. A judge dismissed the case in August.
However, the latest probe is not the only one Uber has to face in recent months. In May, the Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation into the firm’s use of a piece of software that allowed its drivers to bypass regulators in jurisdictions where the company failed to obtain a license to operate.
The U.S. DOJ also suspects Uber may have infringed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
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