Uber is facing an FBI probe for potentially using software to illegally interfere with it’s competitors. Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi just started on the job this week, but he’s already got to deal with yet another federal probe looking into the legality of the company’s practices prior to his watch.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly is probing whether Uber used an internal program to interfere with rival ride-hailing company Lyft, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investigation is focused on a program called Hell, which tracked Lyft drivers in order to entice them to Uber’s platform.
The program was used by Uber to see how much drivers charged passengers, and provided data on drivers who worked at both companies to potentially target them with cash incentives to quit Lyft, the report says. Uber could not be immediately reached for comment.
An April article by The Information that first revealed the existence of Hell was followed by a class action lawsuit by Lyft drivers that alleged invasion of privacy and interception of electronic information. Uber countered that the data was available to the general public and did not cause injury or financial harm. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in late August.
Turmoil surrounding Uber’s business and its culture forced co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick out in June. While Uber has surged to a valuation of nearly $70 billion, its methods for speeding to the front of the ride-hailing pack have been questioned. In March, details surfaced of an internal program called ‘Greyball’, which allowed Uber to avoid local law enforcement.
Some of the other issues roiling Uber include a lawsuit from an Indian rape victim who says her medical records were illicitly obtained and shared by top Uber management, including CEO Kalanick, apparently because they suspected a ride-hailing rival of fabricating the charges. Uber also is grappling with a lawsuit from self-driving car rival Waymo, an arm of Google, which maintains that Uber is using stolen trade secrets to power its LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors.
- FBI could probe Uber over program targeting Lyft.