ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Uber, the ride-hailing app, has been using a secret program to play a game of hide and seek with law-enforcement officials in cities around the world where its operations are not yet legal.
The secret program, called Greyball, has collected in-app data to identify and thwart government officials monitoring its drivers since 2014.
The tool tracks users’ geolocation, credit card information, app usage habits, and even social media profiles to identify those working for city governments and rival ride-hailing service companies.
Meanwhile, the tool prevents taxi drivers from tracking the locations of the Uber drivers.
The app tactically blocks car requests from suspicious users and even creates a mockup app with fake Uber vehicles to deceive authorities.
In a statement, Uber explained the program was used to prevent abusive riders and competitors from violating the terms of service.
The San Francisco-based transportation company was founded in 2009.
Its operations cover hundreds of cities worldwide, though many locations have banned the service, claiming it violates local laws.
Earlier last week earlier, the chief executive of Uber Travis Kalanick issued a public apology after a video of him swearing at an Uber driver went viral.
Moreover, the company has recently faced several controversial allegations, including systematic sexism, sexual harassment scandals, and bypass of local laws.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Reporting by Regina Chung)