For several years, Uber has been using a special program to ” deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been banned,” according to a potent report from the New York Times.
The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials who were trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities like Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea.
In response to the Times, Uber issued the following statement: “This program denies ride requests to users who are violating our terms of service—whether that’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.”
This is just one of several controversies for Uber this year alone; the company is currently being investigated for a toxic, sexist internal culture, for example.