Technonlogy

Uber is under FBI investigation for its ‘Hell’ tracking program

The FBI has questions about Uber’s secret tracking program.


Uber

Uber appears to be under fire for its secretive software program called Hell.

The FBI and the US attorney’s office in New York are reportedly looking into whether the ride-hailing company used the software to illegally thwart its competitor Lyft, according to The Wall Street Journal.

An Uber spokesman confirmed that the company is cooperating with the investigation.

Uber’s program, revealed in a report from The Information in April, tracked Lyft drivers through fake passenger accounts, learning when and where they were working. Uber allegedly used the program to see which drivers were working for it and Lyft at the same time, and pushed more customers toward Uber drivers in an attempt to edge out their ride-hailing rival. Uber reportedly stopped using the software in 2016.

Uber, which made its name by pairing passengers with drivers via an app, has a long history of pushing the bounds of the law. This isn’t the first time it’s gotten into trouble. It’s dealing with the legal fallout of creating “Greyball” software to hide from police and for a high-profile court case against Alphabet’s Waymo regarding the theft of self-driving car technology.

As for Hell, a former Lyft driver also filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly using the software. But a federal judge dismissed that suit last week.

The company is currently going through a big transition. After a rocky past few months, Uber’s notoriously aggressive co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, stepped down. The new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, just completed his first week on the job.

Neither the FBI nor the US attorney’s office in New York replied to a request for comment.

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