FBI Investigating Uber Over Software that Tracked Rival Drivers

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating Uber Technologies the ride-hailing service over a program known as “Hell.”

The program was allegedly used by the company to track drivers of rival Lyft between 2014 and 2016, according to a report that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

This probe is led by the New York office of the FBI in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, of which the latter already was carrying out an investigation into the anticompetitive strategies of Uber dating back to 2016 said the WSJ report.

One of the main schemes of the Hell program involved Uber developing fake rider accounts for Lyft. It would then use the accounts as a window into the service of its rival, where it was able to monitor the number of drivers Lyft has available at certain times in certain areas.

With this information in hand, Uber was able to fill in gaps in the coverage of Lyft during real time. Hell program received its name due to how it was able to mirror Uber’s God’s view, or Heaven’s view later, which employees would use to help track its own drivers and their riders.

Another part of this program was used by Uber to identity the drivers who were working for both Uber and Lyft. Uber would then reportedly use the information to target the driver with financial incentives to entice them away from its rival Lyft. In 2016, Uber reportedly stopped using Hell.

Earlier in 2017, a former driver with Lyft filed a class action suit against Uber related to its use of Hell. The lawsuit alleged that the secretive program for tracking used by Uber violated several communications and privacy acts, but last month was dismissed.

The current investigation into Uber’s used of Hell is not the sole investigation that Uber’s executives need to worry about.

Last May, it the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly opened its own criminal probe into Uber for using “Greyball.” That is software that allowed the company to evade the local authorities in towns where Uber did not have a license to operate.

In addition, the DOJ is investigating whether the ride-hailing business violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Uber only a week ago announced that Dara Khosrowshahi would be taking over the vacated CEO position with the company following the resignation earlier this year of co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.

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