Uber Says It Will No Longer Use Tool To Evade Law Enforcement

Uber says it will stop targeting regulators with 'greyballing'

Uber says it will stop targeting regulators with 'greyballing'

The tool is an app called Greyball and it has been how the company managed to dodge regulations in certain cities for years.

We have started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date.

Uber used Greyball to avoid local authorities who were investigating the company in US cities such as Las Vegas and Boston and in countries including Australia and China, according to The New York Times.

Greyball's retooling comes at a time of great challenge for the $70 billion private company, which until recently has enjoyed a meteoric rise. It continues, "we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward".

Now, almost a week later, Uber says that it will be reviewing how Greyball is used in the future, though it is so far only prohibiting its use to target local regulators. This technology also uses the data from its Uber app and also the other methods for identifying and circumventing officials that aimed to ticket or even apprehend the drivers in those cities that went on to oppose Uber's operations.

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Sullivan added that it would take the company "some time" to change configurations on Greyball.

Uber's statement Wednesday, issued by Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, expanded on that explanation but did not explicitly acknowledge that it was Uber's policy to use the technique against regulators. When users suspected of investigating Uber tried to use the app, it would show them "ghost cars" and all drivers they tried to book would immediately cancel.

Uber said "a number of organizations" have contacted the company for information about how the tool is used, and that it would respond after completing its review.

However, the company's blog post on Wednesday described Greyball as a tool that has "been used for many purposes, for example: the testing of new features by employees; marketing promotions; fraud prevention; to protect our partners from physical harm; and to deter riders using the app in violation of our terms of service".

Uber's attempts to rebuild its relationship with regulators is followed by a series of mishappenings that fired user backlash and also boosted investor concern. The blog post prompted an internal investigation.

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