Uber is currently dealing with a snowball effect. One after the other, the company was the subject of many scandals since the beginning of the year. After several sexist reveals from former employees, the car-hailing behemoth has now to answer for its use of a particular tool. This Greyball software was used to evade regulators for numerous times. It was active especially in markets that Uber had just penetrated. In these sectors, it was crucial to act fast while there was still legal uncertainty over how such a service complies with the respective country’s laws. After its disclosure, the company promises not to use it again.
On Wednesday, the ride-hailing platform Uber promised not to use Greyball tool again. To implement this change, the company announced the new decision among its employees first. The company understands that such a tool shouldn’t be used to evade regulators. This software’s core duty is to display on riders’ gadgets different versions of the Uber app. Employees stated that this program protected drivers. However, the company was able also to use Greyball to track local regulators down and avoid them. As they were trying to understand this service better and clearly regulate it, they couldn’t do their job.
It was the publication New York Times that posted an article about this finding. The reporters talked with four former and current employees who disclosed how Greyball was used to evade regulators in American cities and other countries as well.
The chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, mitigated the scandal by announcing that the company had already informed its employees on the new prohibition to use Greyball to avoid local regulators. On the other hand, he admitted the fact that given the sophisticated systems that Uber works on, this change might take a while to come into full effect.
Reporters asked a spokeswoman why the new business rule couldn’t be implemented faster. However, the woman refrained from answering. On the other hand, Uber stated that several companies inquired already about the tool. This is why the organization wants to take the time to review the situation better. Moreover, last week a representative of the European Parliament wrote to the European Commission about Uber. The text urged the commission to conduct an investigation about Greyball.
Image source: 1