Uber found guilty of avoiding government officials by using Greyball software

More troubling news for Uber…

More troubling news for Uber, as an investigation conducted by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), have found Uber Guilty of using Greyball software that enables the firm to avoid government officials.

The concluded in their report that Uber had “illegally entered the Portland Market in 2014,” whilst they had no permit to do so.

PBOT said that Uber had “intentionally deceived PBOT’s officers” by using the Greyball software in the city as the software had been applied to 16 accounts that belonged to government officials.

The report further said: “In using Greyball, Uber has sullied its own reputation and cast a cloud over the TNC [transport network company] industry generally.”

So, what is Greyball?

Greyball is preventing undercover regulators globally from shutting down the hailing app service. This secret program can identify officials monitoring Uber drivers however, it was initially developed to protect the company from any “violations of terms of service.”

However, data collected from the Uber phone app had been used to identify regulators and other officials monitoring their drivers. This secret program has allowed Uber to monitor user’s habits to identify undercover regulators using the service as normal passengers by obtaining geolocation and credit card data.

Once the program has identified any official, regulator or even the police trying to entrap a driver another version of the app cancels their booking.

These methods and techniques are clearly enabling Uber to globally circumvent the authorities.

Dan Saltzman of Portland city commissioner said: “As regulators, it is our job to ensure these companies [like Uber] play by the rules, keep passengers safe, and act ethically.

“Moving forward, we have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders in violation of city code or law will be allowed in the future.”

This week ten MPs said Uber is an “unfit and improper operator,” police have also accused the firm of failing to report sex attacks.

Labour MP Wes Streeting, who is the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, wrote to Mike Brown, TfL’s commissioner, he wrote: “The safety of Londoners must be at the forefront of decisions taken about the taxi and private hire industry in our capital city.

“We do not believe that Uber has shown itself to be a fit and proper operator.

“Competition in the taxi and private hire industry is welcome, but it must be on a level playing field and the safety of passengers must be paramount.

“In cities around the world, Uber has shown itself to be an unfit and improper operator.

“It’s time that London followed cities in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary by revoking Uber’s licence.”

Inspector Neil Billany of the Metropolitan Police, has said Uber only informs the police of “less serious matters” therefore being selective of the crimes they report.

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